The bill is sponsored by Rep. Peter Welch (VT)- a member of the 54-member House caucus devoted to advancing clean energy and environmental protections- and reflects a top SEEC priority to invest in efficiency in order to create jobs, decrease energy costs, and reduce carbon pollution. The legislation enjoys bipartisan support.
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“Our coalition is proud to advance policies that will create American jobs and increase our national energy efficiency,” said SEEC co-chair Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY). “Home Star will help build our clean energy economy, improve the energy efficiency of our homes and reduce carbon emissions.”
“Home Star will create hundreds of thousands of jobs where we need them the most: in building and construction, manufacturing and retail. At the same time, it will empower families to invest in their homes, saving billions in energy bills and reducing harmful carbon emissions,” Welch said. “This bipartisan legislation addresses our nation’s energy and unemployment challenges through practical, common sense action. Together, we can save more by using less energy.”
The legislation would authorize the creation of a Home Star program to spur home energy retrofits by providing direct incentives to homeowners to install American-made energy-saving products and conduct whole-home retrofits. Home Star includes two types of consumer incentives: a Silver Star path to provide in-store rebates for specific energy-saving investments, and a Gold Star path to rewards homeowners who conduct a comprehensive energy audit and implement a variety of measures to reduce energy use.
The bill has the endorsement of a broad range of business, labor, environmental, and consumer groups. It is largely drawn from Welch’s Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance Act that SEEC supported and that was passed by the House as part of comprehensive energy and climate legislation in June 2009.
In December 2009 the members of SEEC advocated for the creation of a residential energy efficiency program in a letter to congressional leaders that outlined coalition priorities for domestic job creation.
“Energy efficiency is a home-grown solution to our energy problems that not only helps families reduce their energy bills, it also creates good paying American jobs that can’t be exported,” said SEEC vice chair Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME).
“Making home energy efficiency improvements isn’t just about cost savings. It’s also about job creation. Homes don’t weatherize and retrofit themselves. A home owner has to hire someone to install the windows, redo the insulation, and make other improvements - and they in turn will hire people to help them do the work,” said SEEC vice chair Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ). “This legislation supports our efforts to create jobs, save energy, and protect our environment.”
“Home Star will save money for homeowners and create business opportunities for contractors and building material suppliers. It is an example of the kind of legislation that can spur economic growth, save money for families, and help the environment by saving energy,” said SEEC vice chair Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA).
“Home Star is a bill that demonstrates our commitment to jobs and energy efficiency,” said SEEC vice chair Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY). “Energy efficiency should be our fuel of choice. Formalizing and training the appropriate workforce to achieve our energy goals is incredibly important, and the jobs associated with the Home Star bill are a huge step in the right direction of job creation and a new energy future.”
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