Obama Proposes 'Cash for Caulkers': Each Household Eligible for $12,000

Photo via UFOBC

We covered early leaks that the Obama administration was considering another stimulus bill designed along the lines of Cash for Clunkers called Cash for Caulkers--and it looks like they proved to be just the case. Today, Obama officially proposed the stimulus package, which makes each home eligible for $12,000 for making energy efficient improvements to their homes.According to Yahoo Finance, President Obama proposed the program today, saying it would reimburse homeowners for energy-efficient appliances and insulation. And Steve Nadel, director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, said "a homeowner could receive up to $12,000 in rebates." The initiative would be rolled out as a part of Obama's stimulus plan, and it's a fantastic idea. Investing money in making energy efficient improvements is one of the smartest, easiest most effective ways to reduce energy consumption, save money, and cut back on carbon emissions--both on individual and national levels.

Today, the president spoke out in favor of ramping up energy efficiency (via CNN Money):

We know energy efficiency "creates jobs, saves money for families, and reduces the pollution that threatens our environment," Obama said. "With additional resources, in areas like advanced manufacturing of wind turbines and solar panels, for instance, we can help turn good ideas into good private-sector jobs."
Indeed. The proposed program has two parts: it will give money to homeowners who pursue efficiency projects, and funding for companies in renewable energy and efficiency sectors.

Here's how the plan might work:

The plan will likely create a new program where private contractors conduct home energy audits, buy the necessary gear and install it, according to a staffer on the Senate Energy Committee and Nadel at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. Big-ticket items like air conditioners, heating systems, washing machines, refrigerators, windows and insulation would likely be covered, Nadel said.
Incentives to buy energy efficient goods? So far, so good.
Consumers might be eligible for a 50% rebate on both the price of the equipment and the installation, up to $12,000, said Nadel. So far, there is no income restriction on who is eligible. That would mean a household could spend as much as $24,000 on upgrades and get half back. Homes that take full advantage of the program could see their energy bills drop as much as 20%, he said. The program is expected to cost in the $10 billion range.
And it would be worth every penny--it would more than pay for itself through created jobs and savings on energy production. Cash for Caulkers is more of clear cut winner than the Clunkers that inspired it could ever be.

More on Obama and Energy Efficiency
Obama Mandates Federal Energy Efficiency Improvements
Energy Efficiency Leads Obama Economic Recovery Plan
Hey Federal Employees! Obama Wants Your Energy Efficiency Ideas

Tags: Barack Obama | Congress | Energy Efficiency | United States


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