Tyson's
by Tyson Schwartz
August 17th, 2010

The Facts on Home Star

The Home Star legislation is trying to make it through Congress (CLICK HERE for related article). Some days, it seems like this legislation will be a slam dunk, but other times, it seems iffy at best. Although there is strong support for the Home Star bill, dealers around the country tell me they are opposed to its passing in its current form. One of the challenges with the current bill is that the rebate comes to the consumer/homeowner upfront and directly from the window dealer. The government then will reimburse the dealer.

This is obviously great for the homeowner, but for the home improvement company and the window manufacturer, it could pose a great challenge. The government isn’t the quickest in paying out money as the Cash for Clunkers program clearly illustrated. Auto dealerships were waiting for months to get the rebates and, in turn, so were the auto manufacturers. This delay caused grave challenges within the auto industry, and I know that it will cause significant challenges within the door and window industry as well. If the bill passes in its current form, it could actually hurt the industry rather than help it.

Another challenge this program poses to the industry is the energy audit aspect of the bill. The energy audit companies all use their own measuring standards. This undermines the credibility of the program as it is biased to the respective energy audit companies mentioned in the bill. The question that many of us have is, “Why is Home Star recommending BPI, RESNET or any other energy audit company the EPA decides on?” This is a question I can’t answer. However, I do know that many dealers around the country are upset about this. In fact, for most dealers, if they want to get into the Gold part of the Home Star program, they have to spend a lot of money getting their people, trained and certified.

Many industry organizations are in the process of explaining the shortcomings of the Home Star bill to the legislators that will listen. But we all need to do our part and let Congress know the challenges the bill will cause. Also, there are people inside and outside of our industry that just don’t want any more government spending and oppose the bill entirely. No matter how you feel, I encourage you to make your voices heard.

Finally, I wish everyone great selling through the end of the year!



4 comments
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  1. I agree with you on some aspects of your article, and disagree on others.

    I own a nationwide energy auditing firm. There is not anything in the legislation REQUIRING an auditor to have BPI certification, only contractors, and inspectors. This part of the legislation ensures that fraud is kept to a minimum.

    This is all new territory, and BPI & RESNET have set the standards, as did various unions in their day. BPI has the power to pay lobbyists, as does RESNET.

    The basic standard that must be set (and already is regarding energy auditing) is the fact that the software system must be accurate. A homeowner should not have to pay $1000 for an energy audit. We offer audits across the US at $99.

  2. I think most window dealers won’t be able to afford giving customers $1,000 credit and wait 3+ months for repayment by the government. What if the government turns down the request? Homeowners can only get Home Star OR the Stimulus Tax Credit not both. But we all know homeowners won’t tell you this up front. I think dealers could get themselves in trouble. Does the window dealer have to eat the $1,000!!! Our company sells 35 window installation jobs a month. No way are we going to be giving out the money and waiting to get repaid. Probably have to raise prices 10%-25% to cover expense of borrowing the money from a bank. This could bankrupt alot of window dealers.

    I do like that you have to sign up for this program if you offer installation and prove that you are licensed, insured and carry workers compensation and give 1 year warranty on work. This will cut out alot of shaddy window dealers and contractors. If a window dealer has the money they could really do some business over their competition.

    Since we haven’t seen the final bill things can change quickly.

  3. BPI and RESNET are the two of the most well respected organizations when it comes to standards for energy auditing. Sure there are a lot of other energy auditing certification/training programs but BPI and RESNET are by far the best. They are not recommending energy audit companies, they’re recommending that the audits are done by professionals who’ve demonstrated their knowledge by earning BPI or RESNET certification.

    Any business that can not get financing for receivables that the federal government owes is simply not even trying. Any bank would be happy to give a loan out against money owed by the government…..and my bank won’t come near 25%.

    The bill is allocating a small portion of funds to gold star for performance based incentives. This is probably bad news for contractors who are selling improvements with unrealistic energy savings but that’s not really a good reason to stop it.

    Home Star is different but that’s not a bad thing.

  4. Tyson – great job of pointing out the concerns. Most dealers cannot afford to float the cash not to mention the extra manpower cost of administering the program. At least there is time for the industry to voice concerns before the program takes its final form, unlike what happened with the 30-30 tax credit!

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