Cash for Caulkers: Energy Efficient Stimulus Program


The federal program of cash for caulkers would allow each household to get a 50% rebate, up to $12,000, for making energy efficient repairs and improvements to their home.  While it is still uncertain how the program will be structured, many believe that it will be based on the home energy efficiency program currently in place in New York State.  If so, you would hire a contractor to come into your home and conduct an energy audit to check how much energy is being wasted.  The audit consists of using a giant fan to draw the outside air into the home, showing leaks in sidingwindows, insulation and doors.  They will also look at your appliances and determine how much energy is being exerted.  Then, a checklist will be compiled of items that need to be improved, how much savings in your monthly bills you can expect and how much it will cost upfront.  It is up to the homeowner to determine which of the repairs they would like to make and negotiate the price.  Once the improvements are completed, paperwork is submitted by the contractor and the homeowner would receive the 50% rebate (up to $12,000).


One notable question with this program is, what if I don’t have enough money to pay for the improvements outright?  Currently in New York, you can opt to take out a low interest loan instead of receiving the 10% rebate.  Considering the federal rebate will be much greater, financing options are a must. The financing guidelines in terms of credit, income, etc are also a concern because financial institutions have become strict in their lending requirements.  Also being considered is partnering with large home improvement stores to help offset the homeowners upfront costs.


It is also important to note that due to the large amount of money being allocated to this stimulus program, fraud is a huge concern.  Therefore, it is unclear if the program will cover DIY projects.  In the New York State program, you must hire a contractor that is licensed through the Building Performance Institute, a third party certification program.  Currently, over 27 states have programs similar to New York.  Due to the fact that over half of the states have some rebate program in place, the most time efficient solution would be covering the rebates and licensing on the state level.  As with the tax credits that are currently in place, there will be stringent guidelines to be sure the product is indeed energy efficient.


Moonworks supplies New England homeowners with several of these qualifying products including: energy efficient Renewal by Andersen windows and doors, cool roofing technologies, Repower Home solar hot water systems, and Ownes Corning blow-in insulation.  We also hire our own installers, making quality control and professionalism a priority.


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