oops! wrong HomeStar
The construction industry is full of rugged individualists, but they don't have a lot of work these days. That's why they are all lining up to support President Obama's "cash for caulkers" initiative, formally called Home Star. They have formed the Home Star Coalition to promote it.
Renovation Puts A Lot of People to Work
It really is the best kind of stimulus you can get; fixing our energy-leaking buildings will save a lot of electricity and fossil fuels, and it is labour intensive. According to American Progress,
Labor constitutes a very significant share of any remodeling job, but more than half of every dollar spent also flows to retail and manufacturing through product purchases. This means a program that incentivizes new construction investment through energy improvements would create jobs not only within the construction industry directly, but in retail, manufacturing, and other local economic activity as well.
Renovation uses Stuff that is Still American Made
Not only that, but as Kate Galbraith of Green Inc. points out, the bulk of the basic home improvement materials are still American made. So if you compare installing a Chinese made solar panel to insulating a roof, well, there really is no comparison when it comes to the impact on the economy.
Matt Golden of Efficiency First explains:
"Materials are a relatively minor part of the overall cost of getting an efficiency retrofit. Insulating a house, he estimated, probably breaks down to 30 percent materials and 70 percent labor."
No doubt Home Star will get dragged through the House and Senate and opposed by every Republican, simply because that is what they do. But if the government is going to put money anywhere to create jobs, this is going to give the biggest bang for the buck.