Congressmen David B. McKinley (R-WV) and Peter Welch (D-VT) introduced bipartisan legislation aimed at spurring energy efficiency investments in residential buildings and creating construction jobs. The bill, “The Home Owner Managing Energy Savings Act” HOMES Act) would provide rebates to homeowners who invest in energy efficiency improvements. Homeowners who demonstrate a 20 percent energy savings will receive a $2,000 rebate. For every 5 percent in additional energy savings, they can receive another $1,000 – up to a total of $8,000 or 50 percent of the project’s cost.
The legislation recognizes certified RESNET Home Energy Raters and Energy Smart Home Performance Teams. It also requires that the projected savings be calculated following RESNET’s existing homes software modeling guidelines.
“These are common-sense ideas that will create jobs, save money for consumers and conserve energy,” Congressman McKinley said. “This issue transcends political ideology.” Congressman Welch commented, “Encouraging energy efficiency in the private sector is a win-win-win for the consumer, the economy and the environment. And, in an era of partisan gridlock, energy efficiency is a practical, common sense idea where Democrats and Republicans can find common ground.”
The HOMES Act was introduced in the last session of Congress but did not pass by either house of Congress.
The introduction of this legislation by a Democrat and a Republican demonstrates that improving the energy performance of homes transcends the current political division in Washington. It remains to be seen, however, whether the legislation will be enacted with its appropriation in these times of fiscal austerity.
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