Back in March, Obama announced details of the proposed HOME STAR program – dubbed "Cash for Caulkers" – which would provide rebates up to $8,000 for homeowners who make energy-efficient renovations.
The House of Representatives passed the bi-partisan Home Star Energy Retrofit Act in May, and it's currently in the Senate. It was introduced as part of a larger energy bill a few days ago, and proponents hope to get it passed before the Senate adjourns for recess next week.
Although you can't take advantage of the rebates just yet, here's what you can do NOW…
• Learn more about the bill: Home Star has been included in the Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Company Accountability Act, which focuses on responding to the BP oil spill but also includes measures for energy efficiency upgrades, investment in alternative fuel vehicles, and funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The Atlantic has a quick summary of the energy bill, including a link to more detailed information (see page 16 of the PDF for Home Star details).
• Contact your senators: Want to see it pass? As a standalone bill, the bi-partisan Home Star probably would have been easier to get through the Senate. Now that the situation looks more tricky, proponents are urging us to contact our senators TODAY and ask them to support it. Senator contact information may be found here. If you need talking points for emails or phone calls, check out the ones at Efficiency First.
• Do your homework: Whether you need more information before contacting your senators or want to study up in preparation for the day when the bill does pass, check out Cash for Caulkers – The Definitive Guide To The Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010. Author Houston Neal does an excellent job of breaking down the 13 retrofits included in the bill, along with the requirements and rebate amounts for each.