Posts Tagged ‘Senate’

As a country, we have the technology to make our homes more energy efficient. What we lack is the will to do it.

August 3, 2010

I think Harold Orr, a pioneer in practical deep energy-efficiency in homes from Saskatchewan, summed it up very nicely three years ago at the ACI Deep Energy Retrofit Summit, when he said that with respect to serious energy-efficiency savings in homes, we don’t lack the technology, we lack the will.

Harold was right then.  And the same holds true today.  We do have the technology.  We routinely save 20-30% in homes.  We often save more than 50%.  And even without getting into renewable energy like PV or wind, we could in many cases chop 80% of the energy a home uses.    The technology exists today.  Most of the technology has existed for decades.  We have the skills.

But as a country we lack the will.  The political will.  We find it easier to ignore the problem.   We strip our mountains for coal and fill in the streams with dirt.  We damage our oceans.  We use our farmland—the land we don’t allow to erode into the sea—increasing to grow fuel, not food.  And we argue about global warming. 

And we don’t do anything to address our energy security, our economic vitality, protect the environment.  As a country, we don’t seem able to institute a sound energy policy.

This is epitomized by the energy bills (or “oil spill bill” if you prefer), Democratic and Republican alike, stalled in the Senate right now.  “Energy” policy—or lack thereof—today seems to have more to do with making the “other side” look bad than with helping the whole country.  Home Star, a bill that would create jobs across the country, help make millions of homes more energy efficient thereby saving homeowners money, and protect the environment, is stalled along with everything else.  It would be downright silly that this isn’t moving forward immediately…if it weren’t such a shame.

We can make homes much more energy efficient—and more comfortable, with better indoor air quality, and a safer environment!—today.   But to do this at scale and in a way that makes sense for the country, in a way that makes broad economic sense for the country, we need a coherent energy policy.

While partisan bickering keeps the country from moving forward, we the people are going to have to lead on this one.  We do have the technology.  We’d better find the collective will.  And soon.


Senate Hearing Puts HOME STAR’s Job-Creating Potential in the National Spotlight

March 11, 2010

Exciting developments on the HOME STAR front with bills being drafted in both the U.S. House and Senate. GreenHomes America is proud to be supporting these efforts with input based on our real-world experience delivering improvements to homeowners in New York, New Jersey, and California, improvements that not only help them stop wasting money and energy, but more them more comfortable in their homes.

And, as Brett Knox, the President of GreenHomes said, “New jobs are desperately needed in America and HOME STAR will provide them by accelerating the growth of an industry focused on making homes use less energy. HOME STAR is based on established quality assurance standards so homeowners can be confident they are getting quality improvements installed and they will start saving money on their utility bills immediately.”

In Washington DC, the HOME STAR Coalition today applauded Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and members of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources for holding a hearing on the need for bi-partisan, job-creating legislation such as the proposed HOME STAR legislation.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to testify before the Senate to voice support for the Home Star program on behalf of the entire HOME STAR Coalition. HOME STAR is a win-win-win as it will put our nation’s skilled construction force back to work, benefit homeowners through comfort and energy efficient improvements to their existing homes, and result in long term energy efficiency gains. On behalf of the entire Home Star Coalition, I urge Congress to act quickly to commence this program,” said WellHome President Larry Laseter in his remarks before the Senate Committee.

HOME STAR is a market-driven, low-bureaucracy program that would create jobs fast by scaling the existing home energy efficiency improvement industry. HOME STAR would use incentives to spur more Americans to start making their homes more energy efficient. It would establish a $6 billion rebate program to encourage immediate investment in energy-efficient appliances, building mechanical systems and insulation, and whole-home energy efficiency retrofits. Consumers nationwide would embrace HOME STAR because it will be imple, accessible and help them save money.

“We believe the HOME STAR program will deliver both economic and environmental benefits,” said Andrew N. Liveris, Chairman and CEO of The Dow Chemical Company. “Economically, it will stimulate the construction sector, among the hardest hit in the recession, while also giving relief to homeowners, who count energy as their largest cost after their mortgage. HOME STAR has the additional benefit of offering immediate consumer relief through direct rebates rather than tax credits to be accrued in a distant future.”  

“Home Star is an essential step to help Americans save on their energy bills while spurring the creation of good jobs and new industries that drive economic recovery and help our country achieve energy independence,” said Chris Chafe, Executive Director of Change to Win. 

HOME STAR would help to kick-start the comeback of our country’s hard-hit construction industry. It’s estimated the legislation would create 168,000 new jobs in construction and related industries over the next two years. This would have a big impact because one out of four construction workers is currently out of a job. President Obama highlighted HOME STAR’s ability to create jobs for construction workers and contractors during a speech on March 2 while visiting Savannah Technical College in Georgia.

“HOME STAR is the right investment for the country at the right time. Energy efficiency is not a partisan issue, as it helps move us toward greater energy independence and enhances our national security. This program is targeted at the largest marketplace in the country, existing homes, and will be create jobs in a new industry that will thrive for decades,” said Tracy Price, CEO of The Linc Group. 

The HOME STAR Coalition represents over 500 construction contractors, building products and mechanical manufacturers, retail sales businesses, environmental and energy efficiency groups and labor advocates from all 50 states who want to see the job creation and energy savings benefits of federal HOME STAR legislation realized.  A draft of the proposed legislation is on the Senate Energy Committee website.

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