Cash for Caulkers
The House of Representatives yesterday passed a bill to fund consumer
rebates for energy-efficiency retrofits.
Star bill, passed 246-161, would authorize $5.7 billion over
two years for a program that supporters - mostly Democrats - said would
have the added benefits of invigorating the slumping construction
industry and making the earth a little cleaner.
I wonder how builders and architects feel about
this kind of program.
The builders I know are an independent lot, but it's hard to knock a
program that could keep your business alive or allow you to hire back
good people you've had to lay off. Architects, if would seem, stand to
benefit less. But the program does provide a substantial subsidy for
major work, which may well involve architectural services.
bill has two parts: 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.
As with previous stimulus efforts support in
Congress breaks along party lines. Democrats say the rebates will spur
job creation, save energy, and improve the environment; Republicans
focus on the cost, though they were able to include a measure that would
kill the program if Democrats cannot find a way to pay for it. The bill
must still go before the Senate before reaching the President's desk.