Does your house feel drafty, cold, and downright uncomfortable? Do you wish you could afford an updated furnace or new windows? If Reps David McKinley (R-W. Va ) and Peter Welch (D-Vt) have their way, the The Home Owner Managing Energy Savings (HOMES) Act (H.R. 2128) will provide financial incentives that help Americans to stop wasting energy in their homes. The bill is in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce: Energy and Power.
Incentive Energy Retrofits
The bill’s purpose is to create a home energy rebate program to incentivize homeowners to retrofit their homes. The program includes rebates for better windows, insulation, and heating and air conditioning equipment, as well as other home improvements that reduce energy consumption.
The bill authorizes $500 million for home energy rebates each year from 2013 to 2017. In turn, the program provides grant money to states to implement the rebate programs, which would include financing programs and administrative and technical support.
Why is this Bill So Important?
According to the Alliance to Save Energy, American households spend an average of $2100 a year on home energy bills. Home energy rebates offered in the Act could save a homeowner at least 20% to 50% on their home’s energy performance. Therefore, the average homeowner could effectively save anywhere from $420 to $1000 a year on their energy bills.
Additionally, the Act would help generate jobs in the construction industry. Alliance to Save Energy President Kateri Callahan states:
“With the domestic construction industry experiencing record unemployment in recent years and many consumers still struggling economically, the bill is a timely addition to continuing efforts to address rising energy costs, spur economic growth and protect the environment.”
In addition, the HOMES Act would help reduce residential energy consumption which contributes to climate change. The US Energy Information Administration states that home energy consumption accounts for 21% of the overall US carbon footprint
Home Energy Rebates Offered
Listed below are the rebates:
- $2000 rebate for a 20-24% energy reduction
- $3000 rebate for a 24 to 29% energy reduction
- $4000 rebate for a 29 to 34% energy reduction
- $5000 rebate for a 34% to 39% energy reduction
- $6000 rebate for a 39% to a 44% energy reduction
- $7000 rebate for a 44% to a 49% energy reduction
- $8000 rebate for a 50% or greater reduction
The calculations would be based upon prior energy bills. Additionally, homeowners can transfer their rebates to the contractors. Achieving a 50% energy reduction may be a hard feat to accomplish given the amount of the rebate.
All contractors who perform energy rebate work must be accredited by ACCA as a QA Home Performance Contractor, RESNET as an Energy Smart Home Performance Team, or accredited through the Building Performance Institute (BPI.) In addition, the contractors must employ technicians certified by the North American Technician Excellence (NATE), ACCA, RESNET, BPI, the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA), or a regional weatherization program. Furthermore, all contractors must carry at least $1 million in general liability insurance, and comply with all manufacturers installation requirements.
Although the bill is only in committee, it is a win-win for the construction industry and homeowners alike.
In the Meantime, Get Busy Lowering Your Energy Costs:
While you are waiting for this bill to pass, in the meantime:
- check your state incentives for energy retrofits.
- buy energy star appliances and products.
- consider installing garage door insulation.
- installing more insulation in your attic.
- caulk your ducts.
- Get your HVAC tuned up.
- Stop air infiltration through your house.
- Don’t forget that leaky dryer vent.
- Close up those door leaks too.
Join the Conversation:
- Do you think this bill will be enacted?
- Do you think the rebates are substantial enough to meet the individual energy reduction?