Obama Unveils Cash for Caulkers Program
Savannah, Ga. – Willing homeowners across America may soon be eligible for rebates for making energy efficient improvements to their houses, according to President Barack Obama. Standing in front of the student body and faculty at Savannah Technical College, Obama laid out the general groundwork for implementing his $6 billion HOMESTAR program, commonly referred to as the “Cash for Caulkers” program.
Obama said the plan is focused on providing rebates for consumers that purchase energy saving, home improvement upgrades such as insulation and water heaters. Under the program, vendors ranging from small independent contractors to nationwide home improvement chain stores will offer the on-the-spot rebates that will range between $1000 and $1500. The federal government will then reimburse the vendor for the rebate.
This program would also reward homeowners who have energy audits conducted and then follow through with the necessary improvements to reduce their energy consumption. Audited homes that are improved by cutting their energy costs by at least 20 percent can receive up to $3000 with the possibility of a larger rebate for any reduction over 20 percent.
Obama praised the Savannah Tech’s initiative called the YouthBuild program, geared toward pursuing energy efficient business practices through their specialized classes and training. He also drew parallels between the school’s energy education program and the White House’s current goals.
“In terms of energy usage, 40 percent of it goes into our homes and our building,” Obama said during the speech. “So as we’re looking for additional initiatives to spur hiring, I think we ought to embrace what’s happening on this campus. I think we ought to embrace the incredible potential that awaits us across America in clean energy.”
Cutting residential energy consumption and providing relief to homeowners who would partake in the plan, was not the only item on the agenda. The other task at hand for the White House, according to Obama, is attempting to provide jobs for American’s who will assist in weatherizing these houses.
Obama referred to manufacturers and contractors being ready to work and take on the possible increase in demand for labor, and even joked at one point in his speech about outsourcing.
“It turns out that energy-efficient windows or insulation, those things are products that are almost exclusively manufactured right here in the United States of America. It’s very hard to ship windows from China,” Obama said. “So that creates work for small businesses and contractors like some of the folks who are here today. And obviously construction work that’s been as hard hit as anything during this recession, so you’ve got a lot of skilled contractors ready to go.”
The White House has yet to propose the plan to Congress and several details are yet to be determined, such as its duration and costs.