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This article was written by Neal Houston of Construction Software Advice, and reposted here in part.
“Cash for Caulkers” is nearly here. Last month the House of Representatives passed H.R. 5019 – also known as the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010 or “Cash for Caulkers” – to kick-start construction, create jobs and cut back carbon emissions. While the bill still needs to clear the Senate, supporters predict it will pass this summer.
This is great news for homeowners and contractors alike. The bill provisions $6 billion for energy-efficient or “green” retrofits. It is expected to fund renovations for 3 million families, create 168,000 new jobs and save consumers $9.2 billion on energy bills over the next 10 years.
But in order to cash in on upcoming rebates, homeowners and contractors will need to do their homework. There are 13 types of retrofits eligible for funding. Each retrofit has unique eligibility requirements and set rebate amounts. You can read the full text here.
We made it really easy to wade through the legalese. Below is a table that breaks down the 13 retrofits of the bill, along with the requirements and rebate amount for each. In addition to the requirements we listed, each retrofit must comply with Building Performance Institute (BPI) standards or other procedures to be approved by the Secretary of Energy.
We also decided to combine these retrofits into three packages that will help homeowners get the best bang for their buck. But first, let’s review the program details.
Who is Eligible and How to Qualify?
The Home Star bill offers two rebate programs, the “Silver Star” program and “Gold Star” program. Here are details for each:
- Silver Star – Unless another amount is specified in the “Rebate Amount” column above, homeowners will receive a $1,000 rebate for each retrofit listed in our table. The maximum amount of rebates paid out will be $3,000 or 50% of the total cost, whichever is lower. For example, if a homeowner spends a total of $4,000 on eligible retrofits, they will get $2,000 or 50% back as a rebate. If they spend $8,000 on eligible retrofits, they would only receive $3,000 in rebates instead of $4,000 (which would be 50% of the cost).
- Gold Star – To qualify for the Gold Star program, homeowners must reduce their total home energy consumption by 20%. A $3,000 rebate will be rewarded for this reduction. Homeowners can receive an additional $1,000 for each additional 5% reduction, up to a total rebate of $8,000 or 50% of the total retrofit cost. Rebates may be provided for any of the retrofits listed under the Silver Star program, or for any other energy-saving measure, including: home energy management systems, high-efficiency appliances, highly reflective roofing, awnings, canopies, and similar external fenestration (window) attachments, automatic boiler water temperature controllers, energy-efficient wood products, insulated vinyl siding, and mechanical air circulation and heat exchangers in a passive-solar home.
The Home Star bill also includes rebates for do-it-yourself (DIY) homeowners that are confident in taking on the renovations themselves. DIY’ers can get up to $250 in rebates for products purchased without installation service. This rebate is limited to attic insulation, crawl space insulation and/or air-sealing retrofits.
Seal Your House Envelope and Improve Insulation
Before carrying out any serious retrofit, homeowners need to weatherize and seal their house “envelope.” The envelope includes outer walls, windows, doors, floors and the ceiling. If the house is not properly sealed and insulated, then subsequent HVAC retrofits won’t be as effective.
Repair and Replace Leaky Ducts
Ducts are notoriously leaky and inefficient. They are one of the usual suspects in a crime of high utility bills, or when rooms are difficult to heat and cool. The EPA calculates that 20% of air moving through ductwork is lost due to leaks, holes and poor connections. Other sources put estimates closer to 40%. So while suffering from “leaky ducts” may sound innocuous, it can have a big impact on the efficiency and costs of heating and cooling your home.
Upgrade Your Furnace and Water Heater
Heating is the largest energy expense in homes, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). In colder parts of the country, it makes up 30 to 50% of annual energy bills. So improving the heating efficiency of your home will have the biggest impact on lowering your energy costs. Sealing air leaks is a good start, but replacing your heating system could provide real leverage towards cost savings.
Read the full article at: http://www.softwareadvice.com/articles/construction/cash-for-caulkers-the-definitive-guide-to-the-home-star-bill-1061110/#ixzz0qxS487TQ