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Update: President Announces Cash for Caulkers Program

Yesterday, while at Savannah Technical College, President Obama shared more details for the "HOMESTAR" program. The program is designed to boost investment in energy saving home improvements and create green jobs in the process.

Current unemployment in the construction sector is near 25% and this new program will increase demand for installation services and energy efficient products.

Key Elements to the HOMESTAR Program:

  • Direct rebates to consumers. Consumers will receive direct rebates from vendors when they invest in energy saving home improvements. These rebates will be given to consumers at the time of sale and will be reimbursed by the federal government. This part of the program will work much like "Cash for Clunkers" program.
  • $1,000 - $1,500 Silver Star Rebates. Investments in insulation, duct sealing, water heaters, HVAC units, windows, roofing and doors will be eligeble for 50% rebates, up to $1,000 - $1,500. These are minor upgrades, but will make a significant difference in energy consumption.
  • $3000 Gold Star Rebates. For more extensive upgrades, homeowners can receive a $3,000 rebate. To qualify, households would undergo an energy audit and achieve 20% energy savings. Energy savings over 20% would qualify for additional rebates.
  • Certification and Oversight. For Contractors must be certified to perform energy efficient installations.
  • Financing Support. State and local governments will provide financing options for energy efficient investments. This will make investments in energy efficiency more affordable.

The White House states the program will create, "Tens of thousands of jobs while achieving substantial reductions in energy use – the equivalent of the entire output of three coal-fired power plants each year."

On average, homeowners should expect to save $200 to $500 in energy savings per year.