The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act yesterday. The Home Star program described in the bill will provide temporary rebates for energy-efficient doors and windows and other energy-saving items.

During the first year after the legislation passes, the Silver Star program would award rebates to homeowners for the following actions:

– A window replacement that replaces at least eight exterior windows, or 75 percent of the exterior windows in a home, whichever is less, with windows or skylights that are certified by the National Fenestration Rating Council and comply with criteria applicable to the windows in the tax credit program (included in the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, section 25 (c) (except for those in areas above 5,000 feet elevation, where windows will be required to have a U-factor of at least 0.35 when replacing windows that are single-glazed or double-glazed with an internal air space of ¼ inch or less); and

– A door or skylight replacement that replaces at least one exterior door or skylight with doors or skylights that comply with the 2010 Energy Star specifications for doors or skylights.

Rebates also would be provided for storm doors and windows that are installed on at least five existing doors or five single-glazed windows and comply with any procedures set by the legislation. (CLICK HERE for full text of legislation.)

The rebate would be $1,000 per measure for windows, and $125 per door or skylight for the installation of a maximum of two Energy Star doors or skylights per home. The maximum amount of rebates provided for a home is set at $3,000 or 50 percent of the total cost of the installed measures—whichever is less. Likewise, the legislation notes that if the net value to the homeowner of the rebates is less than the amount of the rebates—the actual net value would be the maximum amount of the rebate.

In addition, under the Gold Star Home Energy Retrofit Program, rebates would be awarded to reimburse participating accredited contractors and vendors for retrofit work that achieves whole home energy savings.

“The Home Star Energy Retrofit Act is a common sense bill that will create jobs, save consumers money, and strengthen our economy,” said President Obama in a statement issued late yesterday. “I commend the House on passing this bill, and I particularly want to thank Congressman Peter Welch of Vermont for all of his hard work on this issue … This rebate program will not only put people back to work, it will lower costs for homeowners who choose to improve their home with products like energy-efficient windows, water heaters and air conditioners. And it will also save consumers money on energy bills down the road.”

The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association also issued a statement applauding the passage of the legislation this morning.

“The building material industry has experienced significant job loss during the housing and economic crisis of the past few years. Retailers of building materials alone have lost over 140,000 jobs since 2006,” says NLBMDA President Michael O’Brien. “Incentives for improving home energy efficiency, such as those that would be created by the Home Star program, are powerful tools to drive consumer purchases that in turn drive the restoration of jobs across the building supply chain.

The Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) and the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), also support the legislation.

“We are excited that the Home Star program has taken a significant step closer to implementation,” says Janice Charletta, association services director for AAMA. “Our members and certification program participants are committed to helping make the Home Star program a success. The House has demonstrated its commitment to both the environment and the economy, and to homeowners, building products manufacturers and remodeling contractors. We urge the Senate to follow the House’s leadership and pass the Home Star legislation.”

The bill, which passed the House with a vote of 246-161 yesterday, still must go to the Senate for review prior to final passage.


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