Archive for the ‘Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance (REEP’ Category

Federal Program Aims to Provide Energy Efficiency Retrofits to 5.9 Million Homes by 2012

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

Proposed HOME STAR program under consideration by the Obama Administration to offer $23 billion in incentives for home performance projects, create 500,000 jobs

The Building Performance Institute, Inc. (BPI), a nationally recognized standards development and contractor credentialing organization for residential energy efficiency retrofit work, applauds a proposed nationwide residential energy efficiency retrofit program called HOME STAR that was unveiled last week in a New York Times article and accompanying blog post by David Leonhardt.

Also dubbed ‘Cash for Caulkers,’ HOME STAR is designed to encourage homeowners to weatherize their homes in order to create more than 500,000 new jobs. Venture capitalist John Doerr presented the program at a meeting of President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board (PERAB) on Nov. 2, 2009. The plan is now under keen consideration by the White House, according to statements made by Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s chief of staff, to the New York Times.

“The nationwide unemployment rate is at 10 percent, but the construction industry is one of the hardest hit at 17 percent. The need to install energy efficiency improvement tactics on 5.9 million homes will bring people back to work,” says David Hepinstall, BPI’s Chairman of the Board. “Struggling contracting companies can transition their business model or a portion of their business completely into weatherization services, including whole-home energy audits and the development of work scopes for energy retrofit improvements, or with appropriate training and certification, begin to incorporate some weatherization improvement measures into their existing areas of expertise.”

The proposed program would provide $23 billion in funding: $18 billion for homeowner incentives, $2 billion for quality assurance audits on efficiency projects and $3 billion for retailer incentives and awareness-building activities.

The HOME STAR program also represents a massive opportunity for existing home performance professionals. The increased demand for energy efficiency retrofits that HOME STAR is expected to generate across the country will help existing home performance contractors build their businesses and accelerate their return on investment from their training and certification.

“They’ll be leading this initiative because they already have the skills, knowledge and experience they need to do the work and do it right,” says Hepinstall.

The proposed HOME STAR program also supports the Obama Administration’s environmental goals, complementing the Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance (REEP) program and legislation in the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. Homes contribute 21% of America’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Energy efficiency retrofits can reduce a home’s energy consumption by as much as 40%, saving considerable greenhouse gas emissions. These deep energy savings will also help to protect American families from volatile energy prices and supply issues.

“BPI is very pleased with the recommendations in the HOME STAR proposal, in particular the call for formal training, professional credentials and a robust quality assurance program to protect both tax dollar and homeowner investments in the improvements,” says BPI CEO Larry Zarker. “We support this initiative 100 percent and offer our assistance in helping to bring the program to fruition as quickly as possible.