“Cash for Caulkers" Set to Give Environmentally-Responsible Homeowners a Break: Carpet's Energy-Saving Benefits Contribute to Tax Credit for Homeowners. Could Save Carpet Industry Jobs in the Bargain.
If you have been thinking about putting in a more efficient heat pump or adding another layer of insulation, now could be the time to do it, if legislation establishing a new federal program that gives homeowners tax credits for making energy-efficient home improvements passes . The legislation, called the Home Star program, has passed the U.S. House of Representatives and similar bills are pending in the Senate. The program is supported by President Obama and has been playfully called "Cash for Caulkers" in homage to Obama's earlier "Cash for Clunkers" auto industry stimulus.
Carpet is a natural fit for the Home Star program, as it has long been recognized as the only floor covering to measurably improve the R value (thermal resistance) of floors. The R-value measures how much a material resists the movement of heat through a ceiling, wall, or floor in a building. The higher the number, the more effective the insulation. Recent research conducted at the Georgia Institute of Technology, as well as independent scientific studies, have demonstrated that carpet increases the R-value, or insulation level, of the carpeted area, compared to other flooring materials.
"Under the Home Star bill, carpet would help homeowners qualify for the highest-level "Gold Star" $3000 tax credit reserved for renovations that result in an overall 20 percent energy savings," said Carpet and Rug Institute Vice-President Frank Hurd.
For the carpet industry, “Cash for Caulkers” could give a sorely-needed boost to sales that might enable manufacturers to hire (or rehire) new or laid-off workers. In light of that, the Carpet and Rug Institute, on behalf of the entire industry, sent a letter of support to leaders in the Senate, urging them to pass the legislation. The letter reads, in part:
“By providing significant and immediate rebates for home energy-efficiency retrofits, the Home Star program would spur much-needed consumer demand for energy-efficient products and building materials and quickly create jobs in the manufacturing and distribution of these products. Carpet has an R value as high as 2.4 and would reduce the energy consumption in the home
American manufacturers are committed to producing more energy-efficient consumer products for residential use. With more than half of the 86 million single-family homes throughout the United States constructed before modern codes even existed, the vast majority of U.S. homes are not well insulated, have outdated heating and cooling systems, have inefficient windows and doors and are great candidates for energy-efficiency upgrades.
CRI believes that S. 3434 will improve the energy efficiency of American homes while increasing employment in the U.S. home construction, renovation and manufacturing industries. The carpet industry, however, can recover quickly as it operates with very low inventory levels and as such the recovery will significantly increase jobs downstream quickly. We urge you to support quick action on this important initiative and include carpet.
Werner H. Braun Ralph J. Boe
Thank you, Werner and Ralph, for taking this important step.
Note: Here is a link to the letter supporting S. 3434 sent to leaders of the Senate.
Image Credit: The image above comes from Cash For Caulkers (Homestar Bill) is Back on The Moonworks Home Improvement Blog.