Washington, D.C.—Today’s bipartisan passage of the HOME STAR Energy Retrofit Act of 2010 by the U.S. House of Representatives is a critical milestone on the road to economic recovery, ending America’s jobs crisis, and lessening our dependence on polluting and importing energy. The alliance behind this $6 billion rebate program to encourage Americans to invest in more energy efficient homes is nothing short of historic, bringing together unlikely allies including the National Association of Manufacturers, the Laborer’s International Union of North America, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the League of Conservation Voters. At a time of deep national division on so many critical policy issues, the ability of these groups to find common cause in restoring our economy offers a better way forward.
With the construction sector experiencing a one-industry depression and sustained unemployment of almost 25 percent, HOME STAR will jumpstart demand for construction jobs and advanced manufactured products. A program of incentives for homeowners to spur energy efficiency retrofits on a wide scale is the right medicine for the hard-hit construction industry’s 3.3 million small businesses and solo contractors. HOME STAR will provide urgently needed opportunity to put many of the 2.1 million construction workers who lost their jobs since the peak of the housing bubble back to work. Because buildings account for roughly 40 percent of total U.S. energy consumption, advancing home retrofits through the HOME STAR program can significantly cut pollution, reduce demand for home heating oil, and protect consumers all at the same time, saving Americans $9.4 billion on their energy bills over the next decade.
We applaud the strong bipartisan leadership of Reps. Peter Welch (D-VT), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Vernon Ehlers (R-MI), and all of their colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives for their decisive action on passing a bill that quickly creates high-quality American jobs. We encourage their colleagues in the U.S. Senate to prioritize job creation and energy independence by quickly passing their own bill to provide to the president without further delay. HOME STAR will put America back to work, doing the work that most needs to be done.