Cash for Caulkers: 168,000 jobs, $9.2 billion in energy savings

caulking gun, handle in image with the rest outside frame

The Cash for Caulkers 2010 bill, which passed the House Thursday, provides homeowners from $3,000 to $8,000 in rebates for energy-efficient improvements. Flickr photo.

Cash for Caulkers 2010, also known as the Home Star bill, offers homeowners rebates from $3,000 to $8,000 for energy-efficient improvements to their homes. The Cash for Caulkers 2010 bill, which was passed by the House on Thursday, will dole out $5.7 billion over two years for a program aimed to stimulate the construction industry, which has been gutted by the recession. Republicans, as usual, were nearly united in opposition to the Cash for Caulkers bill, which still needs Senate approval before President Obama can sign it.

Cash for Caulkers details

With Cash for Caulkers  2010, homeowners may not need a loan for thousands of dollars in energy-saving home improvements. The name of the bill is word-play inspired by the 2009 Cash for Clunkers bill that encouraged car buyers to get rid of their gas hogs. CBS News reports that Cash for Caulkers details include two programs: The Silver Star program provides upfront rebates of up to $3,000 for specific energy-efficient improvements in homes, such as installing energy-efficient appliances or duct sealing, insulation or new windows or doors. A Gold Star program would entitle people to up to $8,000 when they conduct comprehensive energy audits and implement measures that reduce energy use throughout their homes by more than 20 percent.

Cash for Caulkers rules

To prevent fraud, Cash for Caulkers rules require licensing for all participating contractors and a certain percentage of projects will be inspected. The Silver Star program provides upfront rebates for renovations such as insulation, improved windows and doors and water heaters at the time of purchase. This credit is worth up to $1,500 per improvement and capped at $3,000 or 50 percent of the total project cost. Following an energy audit, the Gold Star program can provide $3,000 for energy savings of 20 percent, with an additional $1,000 for every additional 5 percent energy savings. This rebate is capped at $8,000 or 50 percent of the project cost.

Cash for Caulkers home energy audit

Cash for Caulkers details about the Gold Star home energy audit requirement can be found on the web. A home energy auditor can help home owners assess how much energy their homes use and evaluate what measures will improve efficiency. Five minutes and the last 12 months of utility bills are all it takes for a do-it-yourself home energy audit using Professional home energy auditors can deliver more energy savings. A professional home energy auditor uses a variety of equipment such as blower doors, which measure the rate heating or cooling escapes the home, and infrared cameras, which reveal hard-to-detect areas of air infiltration and missing insulation.

Cash for Caulkers economic impact

Now that it has passed the House, Cash for Caulkers 2010 moves to the Senate. CBS News reports that the Senate will likely attach Cash for Caulkers to the next jobs bill. Supporters of the Cash for Caulkers bill say it could create 168,000 jobs. They also estimate that 3 million households could take advantage of its programs, saving $9.2 billion in home energy costs over 10-years. They said it would create 168,000 jobs. The cash for Caulkers bill would approve $600 million over two years for grants to states for replacing mobile homes with more energy efficient models.

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