Get ready for Home Star: federal help for energy efficiency retrofits

This is a guest post from Houston Neal, director of marketing for Software Advice, an Austin, Texas-based software consultant.

The Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010 -- informally known as "cash for caulkers" -- is nearly here. The bill was passed earlier this summer by the House of Representatives and now awaits approval from the Senate. Supporters predict it will pass before the end of the summer.

In the meantime, homeowners and contractors should be doing their homework. The legislation describes 13 types of renovations that will be eligible for funding. Each renovation has unique eligibility requirements and predetermined rebate amounts. To take advantage of coming funds, homeowners need ensure their retrofits comply with the bill's specifications.

Software Advice, an online technology resource for contractors, recently put together a "definitive guide to cash for caulkers." The company lists all the detailed requirements in an easy-to-read table. It also has combined the retrofits into three packages to help homeowners make the most of the rebates:

  • Seal Your House Envelope and Improve Insulation -- Homeowners need to weatherize and seal their house “envelope” before carrying out any serious retrofit.
  • Repair and Replace Leaky Ducts -- Ducts are notoriously leaky and inefficient. They are one of the usual suspects in a crime of high utility bills or when rooms are difficult to heat and cool.
  • Upgrade Your Furnace and Water Heater -- Improving the heating efficiency of your home will have the biggest impact on lowering your energy costs. Sealing air leaks is a good start, but replacing your heating system could provide real leverage toward cost savings.
To learn more, click here.

About the author: Houston Neal joined Software Advice in 2007, just shortly after the company was started. He spends most of his day writing for the company blog and getting the word out about Software Advice's resources. He enjoys researching and reporting trends in software and technology, and has a particular interest in developments in "green" technology.