Bingaman seeks to implement White House ‘Home Star’ plan

It would provide consumers rebates of $1,000 to $1,500 for specific projects like insulation, duct sealing, installing efficient water heaters, window and door retrofits and others.

Consumers who undertake comprehensive home energy retrofits would receive up to $3,000 in rebates for overhauls that provide energy savings of 20 percent – and even more money for higher energy savings levels.

“Home Star is a comprehensive and compelling proposal to address one of the most important opportunities we have to boost private sector employment and demand for durable goods while cutting both consumer energy costs and greenhouse gases,” Bingaman said in a prepared statement Tuesday.

The draft bill he circulated is also backed by Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). Bingaman is holding a hearing on the bill next week. It calls for $6 billion worth of rebates under the program that would be run through the Energy Department.

Obama touted the “Home Star” idea during at appearance Tuesday at Savannah Technical College in Georgia.

“Now, these are big incentives. And you'd get these rebates instantly from the hardware store or the contractor. So if you went to Lowe's or Home Depot or wherever you went, right there when you paid at the cash register you'd get that money. You wouldn't have to mail in a long form, wait for a check to arrive months later,” Obama said.

 “Now, we know this will save families as much as several hundred dollars on their utilities. We know it will make our economy less dependent on fossil fuels, helping to protect the planet for future generations.  But I want to emphasize that Home Star will also create business and spur hiring up and down the economy,” he added.