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Support the Cut Energy Bills At Home Act : S1914 25E
This is a call to support S. 1914 the Cut Energy Bills at Home Act sponsored by Olympia Snowe of Maine. S. 1914 provides up to $5,000 in tax credit for homeowners who go forwarded with energy efficiency upgrades on their home. The Cut Energy Bills at Home Act provides incentives for communities to reduce their long term energy use by upgrading individual residences.
This provides many benefits. Homeowners benefit from reduced energy bills, greater comfort and a healthier and safer home. Local communities benefit from the boost in job growth for home performance companies at a time when the general construction and home improvement sectors have been waning for years. Society benefits from greater energy efficiency with reduced carbon footprints and lower demand for energy, irrespective of the source. According to an EIA report from the Department of the Environment 21% of total pollution derives from residential buildings. Energy efficient buildings designed according to contemporary standards of building science could greatly reduce this pollution. According to Lawrence Berkeley National Lab senior staff scientist Mark Levine "Residential is a slam-dunk, it's just a matter of applying the technology we have...It's the biggest sector. It's the biggest savings."
Building science has advanced greatly in the past decade and now we know more about how to construct buildings to perform with far greater efficiency. Unfortunately the inefficient practices that have long been the typical mode of operation for the construction industry are still very widespread. Indeed, the majority of the public is not even aware of how much more efficiently our society could be constructing buildings.
One of the most successful programs deriving from the ARRA has been the residential rebates for energy efficiency. The funding for programs such as Energy Upgrade California has provided a sustainable and viable model for public incentives to homeowners for home energy upgrades. The Energy Upgrade California program is just now becoming successful in raising public awareness to the concept of energy efficiency as well as creating new "green collar" jobs. Despite this emerging success, there is still a majority of homeowners who are unaware of the innovations in building science which lead to much more efficient, comfortable and healthy homes.
The high profile troubles with Solyndra threaten to publicly distract from the positive results of Energy Upgrade California. A focus on energy efficiency benefits individuals, communities and the nation irrespective of the source of our energy. Yet the Solyndra debacle consistently garners more media coverage than the more cost-effective results of energy efficiency based approaches and programs such as Energy Upgrade California.
If more of the ARRA funds had been initially directed toward programs such as Energy Upgrade California instead of companies like Solyndra, more sustainable jobs could have been generated. More homeowners could have benefitted from greater energy efficiency upgrades which in turn benefits communities by reducing the overall regional demand for energy.
With many regional, county and city rebates set to expire in February-April and the negative publicity caused by Solyndra, it is important for Federal government to channel resources into raising the nation's awareness of energy efficiency and supporting incentives that are a win-win for everyone (such as Energy Upgrade California). Greater energy efficiency is essential no matter what are the primary and secondary sources of our nation’s energy. Energy efficiency legislation like the Cut Energy Bills At Home Act is extremely important in helping raise awareness for all the benefits of greater energy efficient building practices.
The Cut Energy Bills At Home Act can fill the gap when many of the current rebate programs sunset in spring 2012 (such as the Association of Bay Area Government rebates). These incentives can be an important to boost to local economies by helping sustain "green collar" job growth in communities hit hard by the recent recession. They also benefit communities over the long term by reducing aggregate energy demand and reducing the aggregate carbon footprint.
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