Cash for Caulkers Update

By Vernon Trollinger, June 21, 2010, Energy Efficiency, Green, News, Save Money

Caulking Gun with cashWhat has been dubbed “Home Star 2.0” has been introduced to the full Senate on May 27 by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee (Jeff Bingman, Chair; Lisa Murkowski, Ranking Member).  The version of the bill, S.3434, has bi-partisan support and there are some hopes it will be passed by July 4.

The Home Star Program was launched in March by President Obama to help put American housing construction workers back to work.  It has two major tracks providing long and short-term Texas electricity savings; the Silver Star Program and the Gold Star Program.

According to both versions of the legislation, the Silver Star Program will offer rebates, in varying amounts up to $3,000 per home, awarded to participating contractors and vendors, who perform qualifying energy saving improvements.  That means if a homeowner hires a contractor, the contractor will float the value of the rebate as a discount to you.  They will then be paid by the rebate aggregator.

Other improvements covered under the Silver Star rebates are: insulation, duct sealing, water heaters, HVAC systems, windows, doors, and cool roofs. Rebates will be targeted to the most energy efficient categories of upgrades, focusing on products primarily made in the United States. All retrofits must be installed by a certified contractor.

However, you can do some installations yourself.  The press release for the Senate version says consumers can get “between $250 and $1500 in ‘point‐of‐sale’ rebates” for insulation, air sealing, and — of course — caulk.

The Gold Star Program offers retrofits that rebate up to $8,000 to contractors and vendors for retrofits that achieve home energy savings determined by a comparison of the simulated energy consumption of the home before and after the retrofit. Gold Star rebates to only be offered by contractors accredited by the Building Performance Institute. And it also includes similar language to the House version that defines a “certified workforce” as one where all employees performing installation work are certified by NATE, BPI, LIUNA, or HBI.

After the first year, consumers can receive tax credits for whole home retrofits that meet 100 HERS for buildings constructed prior to 2000, and 85 HERS for building constructed after 2000.  Homeowners can receive up to $8000 in rebates or 50% of the total retrofit cost.  These tax credits will be available until the end of 2013.

A fantastic breakdown of rebates (drawn from the House version) by Software Advice is at Cash for Caulkers – The Definitive Guide To The Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010 and more information can be found on the Bounce Energy blog article about the Cash for Caulkers program.  Homeowners can expect to recoup their investment by upgrading their energy efficiency.  For example, homeowners in Dallas or Houston who participate in the program to save $200-500 per year in Texas electricity costs.

As with any law, changes are inevitable.  Stay tuned.

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Comments (1)


  1. I hope it happens before July 4th. It seems that everyone is watching and waiting for this legislation and our business is down because of it.