Efficiency First launches effort to support Home Star

A New York-based consultant has teamed with green trade association Efficiency First to urge support for beefing up a jobs bill now before the U.S. Senate.

The trade association and CleanEdison, which is a leader providing accredited green building courses, want those in the clean energy and green building industries to voice support for amendment offered to the small business jobs bill by Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M. The amendment would add the Home Star energy retrofit program to the proposed bill.

“Home Star can create tens of thousands of ‘green’ jobs while also achieving substantial reductions in our nation’s overall energy use,” Warner said in a statement. “Consumers participating in the program could save an estimated $200 to $500 per year on their residential energy bills even as they’re taking steps to increase the overall value of their homes.”

Jared Asch, national director of Efficiency First, made a strong pitch in an email to members of the industry, saying, "We urge all Efficiency First members to send a loud and clear message to the Senate that America's local home energy contractors are ready to ramp up hiring once the Home Star program becomes a reality -- and that the current small-business jobs bill is the right opportunity to make it happen."

Robb Mandelbaum of the New York Times described the small-business jobs bill as "a hearty mélange of tax relief-provisions, loan-program enhancements and inducements, and changes to other government programs. Some are temporary modifications but others are permanent and far-reaching."

Bingaman sponsored S. 3177, the Senate version of Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010, a $6 billion measure that would spur energy efficiency retrofits by homeowners and create jobs. A version passed the U.S. House in May, but 3177 remains in committee. Another bill, S. 3434 and bearing the same name, is also in committee. Many bills never make it out of committee.

Asch said many of the 20-plus cosponsors of 3434 would support the amendment to the jobs bill. To support Efficiency First's push to get Home Star into the jobs bill, go here.