Homestar could get derailed before it even gets off the ground because of a new regulation affecting contractors working on older homes, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
President Obama's Homestar program – nicknamed "cash for caulkers" - would provide significant incentives to homeowners for making their homes more energy efficient. Stimulus money would give consumers cash back for purchases of energy efficient HVAC equipment and water heaters, as well as installing more efficient windows and doors and better-insulating homes.
The program is intended to spur manufacturing and job growth while making homes more energy efficient, decreasing the U.S. dependency on foreign oil.
In testimony Thursday before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Connecticut remodeler Bob Hanbury said that rules coming in April, which govern contractors working in homes where lead paint may be present, will prevent meaningful retrofit work because there won’t be enough certified renovation contractors trained in the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new Lead Safe Work Practices.
“NAHB strongly supports incentives to retrofit older homes and buildings to improve energy efficiency and performance,” Hanbury said. “But to make such a program work, the April 22 deadline for compliance with the EPA lead rule must be extended.”
The Senate is considering legislation that includes the proposed Homestar program. NAHB economists estimate that every $1 billion in remodeling and home improvement activity generates 11,000 jobs, $527 million in wages and salaries, and $300 million in business income.
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