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Get an Energy Inspection, Earn up to an $8,000 Tax Credit

A major source of energy waste in homes is an incomplete or improperly sealed building envelope—essentially, the boundary between inside and outside. One third of all heating and cooling leaks are found between joints in the floors, ceilings, and walls; almost half of the remaining leaks are found between fireplaces, windows, doors, or heating and cooling ducts. Today a homeowner is faced with the burden
of perfecting weatherization of their house in an effort to fight rising energy costs. To assist homeowners in identifying and fixing these common problems, the Obama Administration has recently announced the HomeStar program.

HomeStar will provide tax rebates of up to $8,000 for a projected 3 million
homeowners across the country. These credits will fund improvements to address the energy losses caused by leaks and air loss in unsealed houses. The HomeStar program will provide incentives for products
and services affiliated with energy efficiency and, upon completion of weatherization improvements, rewards will be offered to homeowners for every nominal 5% saved in home energy consumption. Depending on the
size and average energy consumption of the household, the improvements are expected to save between $200 and $500 annually. The program is expected to pass through Congress quickly due to strong
bipartisan political support for energy efficiency.

The HomeStar program is divided into two tiers corresponding to the extent and expense of improvements. The Gold Star program will provide up to $8,000 for inspections including an energy audit and any efficiency measures that are projected to result in a 20% reduction in home energy costs from the previous year’s data. An additional credit of $1,000 is also available for each 5% increment of energy reduction costs. It is expected the GoldStar program will provide rebates to 500,000 homeowners in the United States.

The Silver Star component of the HomeStar program targets the Do-It-Yourself-ers who prefer to perform the work themselves. This program will provide rebates of up to 50% of the cost of weatherization materials. Products eligible for rebates must meet program efficiency standards, though they may include both synthetic and eco-friendly insulations, caulks, windows, doors, duct wrapping, fireplace seals (including flue repairs), as well as plumbing and electrical fixture seals. Homeowners will be eligible to claim credits of up to $3,000 from store rebates found on eligible products or through local energy providers; 2.9 million homes are projected to participate.

In the process of tightening the envelope, homeowners are advised to either have a professional home inspection or a do it yourself radon test in sub level basements upon completion of the weatherization process, as a perfectly sealed home can result in a rapid spread of formerly accumulated radon pollution, commonly found in sub-basements. Congress has projected a total home energy savings of $9.4 billion over the next decade with an improved health and comfort rating for up to 3.3 million homes. These energy savings are the equivalent to taking 615,000 cars off the road or four 30-megawatt power plants. Check back to our blog for more about program developments, participants’ success stories, or to learn more about how to bring green to your home - and profit!

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