How to retrofit 40 percent of American homes

A Primer on the HOME STAR Program

Bracken Hendricks explains the HOME STAR program, which provides incentives to make homes and offices energy efficient while creating jobs.

5 Responses to How to retrofit 40 percent of American homes

  1. mark says:

    Can this be combined with PACE financing schemes? What is the proposed duration of the a program like this? What’s the cost? Is there a sustainable funding source?

  2. J.A. Turner says:

    Think of energy retrofits as an alternative way to invest part of your savings. You get a small, steady return in lower utility bills, and if you have to sell your home, you get back the residual value of your investment in cash in the form of higher home value and quicker time to sell (since more efficient homes are more attractive to buyers). Rebates are nice, but many retrofits are already profitable without them. And, of course, there are many benefits to society at large: reduced pollution, more employment, less strain on the power grid, and less money going into the pockets of the fossil-fuel barons. And, in my case, a more comfortable, quieter home. Investing in improving the performance of your home actually feels good. It’s something you can see and touch and enjoy every day.

  3. John says:

    I like the idea of making my house more energy efficient. I LOVE the idea that someone else is going to pay for it. I want a 100% rebate.

  4. Peter Bellin says:

    Rebates and incentives are needed for those who own rental homes, or with already small utility expenses.

    In my home, my electric bill is 30 to 40 dollars per month. Solar power will never make much sense, unless I get an incentive and can sell excess energy back to the utility (not possible yet in California).

    Gas heating is only a factor in December through March, and I can do a minimal amount of insulating, but my home already has double pane windows, etc – so not much is needed.

    I also own one rental unit – but the tenants pay the utilities. It has 35 year old single pane windows, an older gas furnace, and I don’t know about the insulation. The only way for me to recoup part of the efficiency upgrade costs would be to raise the rent, which I do not want to do. All those incentives cannot be used on rental units. I think this is unfortunate since I would act on upgrading the rental unit if these incentives were available. Without them, the cost is too high.

  5. Steve O says:

    It is so true that there is tremendous untapped potential in retrofitting our existing buildings. This should get started ASAP and we can tweak for effectiveness as we go along.

    One quibble: what’s wrong with the ENERGY STAR brand? Why create a whole new branding effort when ENERGY STAR already has more than 60% brand recognition? In fact, ENERGY STAR already has a woefully underfunded existing homes program–with an infrastructure in place. Instead of creating a new program and brand from scratch, why not marry the two? The brand recognition of ENERGY STAR with the rebates and incentives and other aspects of “Homestar.” The brand value of ES would help the program launch even faster.