The bill passed by the U.S. House May 6 included an amendment specifying that rebates for the $6 billion Home Star program should be paid to homeowners, not contractors.
Opponents succeeded in removing
a provision from energy-retrofit legislation that they said would have required contractors to “float” loans to homeowners while awaiting government rebates.
The bill passed by the U.S. House
May 6 included an amendment specifying that rebates for the $6 billion Home
Star program should be paid to homeowners, not contractors.
The program, also dubbed “cash for
caulkers,” would encourage homeowners to install energy-efficient products and
make improvements to their residences.
"We salute the House for
recognizing that this proposed rebate program cannot succeed if it requires
contractors to become bankers," said Air Conditioning Contractors of America President and CEO Paul T.
Stalknecht. "The small, community-based businesses that provide the overwhelming
majority of jobs in the environmental services sector must have a full and
equal opportunity for participation, or else this proposal will not achieve its
But Stalknecht added that the ACCA
is not yet ready to endorse the legislaton. The group still has concerns with
the so-called “Gold Star” program, which would require all participating contractors
to be approved by a regional organization that ACCA said almost exclusively
works in New York and New Jersey.
"The fight is not over yet,” Stalknecht
said. “Now the legislation moves to the Senate, where we hope a majority of senators
recognize the importance of ensuring a level playing field in the green
He stressed that members want the
program to succeed.
"ACCA remains very
supportive of the goals of the Home Star legislation, and as the legislation
moves to the Senate, we will continue to make a good-faith effort to find a
real solution that will actually meet those goals and create good,
high-paying jobs while improving the energy efficiency and security of the
United States," Stalknecht said.