WASHINGTON D.C. - U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced his support for new legislation which would boost Ohio manufacturing by providing rebates to consumers who purchase energy-efficient products or retrofit their homes to reduce energy costs. Brown outlined how the proposed Home Star Energy Retrofits Program would help lower energy costs for consumers, while creating new demand for Ohio-manufactured products, and putting people back to work through home energy retrofits.
"This is about increasing demand for products manufactured in Ohio, putting people back to work, and helping consumers lower their energy costs," Brown said. "Just as Cash for Clunkers helped get our auto industry back on track, the Home Star program would help bring new purchase orders to Ohio manufacturers and new work for contractors performing home retrofits."
Brown is a cosponsor of the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010 (S. 3177). This legislation would establish the Home Star Retrofit program outlined by President Obama in his 2010 State of the Union Address.
With unemployment in the construction sector near 25 percent and underutilized capacity in our manufacturing sector, the Home Star program would jumpstart our economic recovery by increasing demand for energy efficient products and installation services. Like the Cash for Clunkers program, consumers would be eligible for direct Home Star rebates for a variety of energy-saving investments in their homes. With participation from retailers and contractors ranging from small independent building material dealers to large national home improvement chains, existing distribution channels will be used to provide rebates directly to consumers and then be reimbursed by the federal government. Brown was joined on today's call by John Libonati, Vice President of Government and Public Affairs for Owens Corning, headquartered in Toledo, with facilities in Mt. Vernon and Newark. The Home Star program would provide a boost to Owens Corning and Ohio companies Therma-Tru Windows in Maumee and Jeld-Wen Windows/Doors in Mt Vernon, among others.
"Owens Corning strongly supports Home Star. It will create jobs, save energy and reduce energy costs for American homeowners. Insulation is a US job centric industry," Libonati said. Raw materials, supply chain, manufacturing, sale and installation for American homes are almost exclusively US-based. This is a win-win-win: jobs, reduced energy consumption and lower utility bills for homeowners."
The Home Star program establishes a two-tiered system for homeowners to retrofit their homes. The Silver Star program would provide rebates of $1,000 for the installation of each eligible energy-saving measure like new insulation and high-efficiency heating and cooling systems. Each household would be eligible to receive up to $3,000 in rebates. The Gold Star program would provide performance-based grants: $3,000 for a 20 percent reduction in home energy consumption and $1,000 for each additional 5 percent of verified energy reduction achieved by the retrofit.
The program would create tens of thousands of jobs while substantially reducing energy use. Consumers in the program are anticipated to save between $200 - $500 per year in energy costs, while improving the comfort and value of their homes. The bill would also increase demand for products and component parts manufactured in Ohio that promote energy efficiency.
Today, Brown released an analysis of projected funds that each county will receive for the Home Star program. The report also included the number of Ohio households that utilized the Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP), a highly-targeted energy assistance program. Home Star will build on this success and reach a broader range of homeowners and private contractors.
Pew estimates that residential buildings account for 21 percent of overall U.S. carbon emissions. Cost-effective retrofits can reduce household energy consumption by 10 to 40 percent for most homes and reduce domestic carbon output significantly in the near future. The program would also help reduce our economy's dependence on oil and support the development of an energy efficiency services sector in our economy.
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