Green Business Bureau Blog
Cash For Caulkers Hits Home
President Obama’s Cash For Caulkers Program has caused excitement with American homeowners. The plan combines the President’s push for reducing emissions and lowering energy consumption while providing cash incentives to homeowners.
While green initiatives and green supporters continue to grow, Obama’s green stimulus program may seal the deal for a country desperate to cut reliance upon energy imports. 50 percent of American imports are to help the nation meet its energy needs. Not only does the country spend too much money on foreign oil abroad, but we are also spending that money in places where we should not be providing money.
The details for the Cash For Caulkers program have not been released but there is speculation that it will be structured like the New York State energy-efficiency program. Homeowners who purchase new energy-efficient appliances, windows and alternative energy heating and cooling systems will receive cash from the government.
Like the New York State program, a list of approved contractors will be posted on the Internet and made available via telephone. The homeowners will contact one of the approved contractors who will assess the home’s energy needs and detail the energy savings that can be achieved. The contractor will provide estimate for repairs.
After the homeowner chooses what repairs can be afforded, they will hire the contractor to perform the improvements. The homeowner will directly pay the contractor for the improvements. In return, the contractor furnishes proof of completion along with the improved energy report. The Federal Government will then reimburse the homeowner for predetermined amounts.
The Contractor’s assessment will include an analysis of the home’s appliances, heating and cooling systems, windows and insulation. This information is then entered into a computer, which reveals the energy savings that can be generated by the improvements.
27 states have programs similar t the New York Program. It is possible that these states will administer the distribution of the federal funds. According to contractors in New York, the program is very successful and has generated significant sales and work. Many of these firms were forced to lay off workers in 2007 and 2008. They are now back, working regular shifts and hiring more workers.
On the surface, the Cash For Caulkers program looks like a win-win-win-win situation. The government makes strides in reducing energy consumption, the homeowners get much needed cash to help pay for improved energy systems, contractors gain sales and start hiring and the green movement gains even more momentum.
The only potential weaknesses are the possibility of fraud and the chance that the paperwork will be burdensome. In many respects it makes sense to have local state governments administer and oversee the program as they already have experience and an audits system in place. Let’s hope that this government program does not get caught up in politics and gets off the ground smoothly.