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Obama to announce details of 'cash for caulkers' program during visit to Savannah

By Michael A. Fletcher
President Obama is expected to unveil details of a planned home retrofitting program Tuesday that will offer government rebates for homeowners who install new windows, doors, insulation and other materials to make their homes more energy efficient.

Senior administration officials said Obama would outline the program, which is still being negotiated with members of Congress, during a visit to Savannah, Ga. The program is designed to give a quick jolt to job creation, particularly in the hard-hit construction sector, by offering rebates of up to $3,000 for those who do energy-saving home renovations.

The program, dubbed Home Star, is based on the popular "Cash for Clunkers" program that last year gave a boost to auto sales by offering rebates for the purchase of energy-efficient cars. Administration officials eager to create job creation programs see the initiative as a "triple win" that would allow homeowners to save money on energy and stoke the creation of construction and manufacturing jobs, while reducing the nation's dependence on oil and other fossil fuels.

The program is expected to cost about $6 billion, which would provide cash incentives for as many as 3 million homeowners to do energy-saving renovations. Officials said the rebates would be offered directly by home renovation stores and contractors. They would in turn be reimbursed by the government for the amount of the rebates.

Obama is expected to make the announcement at Savannah Technical College, where he is also slated to visit a training center where students learn how to install insulation, solar panels and high efficiency ventilation systems.

By Michael A. Fletcher  |  March 2, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Hi, I think that this would be a wonderful program to help those whose electrical bills are beyond what they can afford and that it will also create much needed jobs for the unemployed or under-employed. Often citizens who need this the most cannot afford to buy newspapers or to keep on top of news like this online. In my area, there are citizens who share their food w. their pets. Someone recently established a meals on wheels to help out this group. Their electricity bills are also sky high. So, if this program goes forward, it would be helpful for those who really need this assistance to take advantage of it.

In the meantime, thank you brettze for the info in your Comment. It will be a while before a program takes shape, and we can help some needy citizens w. your suggestions.

My husband has always added extra insulation to our home at our own expense. However, there are many citizens too old and infirm and living on a pittance who are not as self-sufficient. People who have worked for years have also suddenly lost their jobs. Help should go to those who really cannot afford it.

Posted by: Edgy1 | March 2, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Be sure to caulk or foam where electric cords, plumbing,or even telephone wires goes through the top of the walls. They are unseen so you have to cut open a slot of the drywall to expose the holes which they come through. Sometimes the holes are already covered by insulation in attics. Not always, remember. So seal them and this will also keep out ants and bugs as well. Also drywall boards nailed to the framing are not airtight as the edges still expose thin openings between top stud plates and the drywall boards. They are hard to reach and seal. They should have been sealed at construction. They are just nailed without any thought about the edges around the boards that should not let any air in especially in the exterior walls. Interior walls should be given same attention as they do get cold inside because air drafts can get in the walls despite insulation. Insulation works best in air tight chambers inside studs, siding/paper and drywall . Any draft that can reach insulation will make insulation cold itself. Insulation can only buffer the difference between outside and inside temperatures only in airtight chambers.. Shoddy construction should be forbideen. maybe caulking should be used on the studs before installing drywall boards and siding / paper. Really framing should be done in close tolerance quality similar to cabinetry work. Studs should be straight and flush and mate tightly with drywall and siding to stop any air draft from getting into the inside chambers where insulation is. It would be best to have them made in factories for installation on sites. Those carpenters walking around with a power hammer popping nails is not quality work.. They think that they are pros which they are not!! They are not green workers at all.

Posted by: brettze | March 2, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse


Thank you for using the words of the founders to remind us: we are the United States, with a common social stake,no matter how some sneer. As Franklin put it, if we don't hang together, we will all hang separately. (He meant being hung by our adversary -- he could have meant being hung out to dry by economic competition.) One nation, indivisible. From sea to shining sea. That's who we have been as a country, not selfish, detached cynics.

Posted by: Lifeafterbirth | March 2, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Race to the Top for public education is a 4 billion program while Cash for Caulking is a 6 billion program.

Yes let us stimulate the home construction industry where so many of the workers are illegal immigrants.

Thank god we are not spending 6 billion to try and jump start manufacturing in wind turbines instead of finding ourselves from buying from the Chinese, or regaining the lead in computer technology which in 2000 we held.

Posted by: bsallamack | March 2, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

mountainredneck: 1 : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
2 a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
I don't see any connection between this program and socialism.

Posted by: k4mdg | March 2, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

MikeDudical - I don't think your complaint makes any sense. The requirement of the "Cash for Clunker" program was that the old, traded-in car was destroyed. The more legitimate criticism was that it reduced the number of used cars for sale, the opposite of what you said.

Posted by: Hopeful9 | March 2, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

My house is drafty - the curtains move when the wind blows - and our inefficient forced air heater sometimes leaves a 30 degree difference between floor and ceiling temperature.

After being laid off last year it has been a struggle to come up with the $5000 property tax bill, and a winter spent in coats and hats. It would be wonderful to be able to offset some of the cost with some energy improvements.

Posted by: elmstreetschool | March 2, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Anything short of hanging Bush and Cheney for 9/11 is fascism, not "socialism." America's supposed to be run on The Creed's three Mottoes, "Annuit Coeptis," "Novus Ordo Seclorem," and "E Pluribus Unum." ~ Of Many, One, under G-d and reason alone, with freedom and justice in Truth.

One Nation, One People, One Creed, and who thinks it's American to push down on the poor and exalt the corrupt rich?

Not I.

Posted by: iamerican | March 2, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

I've always had a problem with Cash 4 Clunker programs. To me it seems to go against simple supply and demand economics. How can we push all of these new cars into a market already saturated with used and repossessed vehicles (see Now new cars are worth even less, we have more Americans in debt, and eventually more repossessions

Posted by: MikeDudical | March 2, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

How do these rebates differ from the tax credits already offered for energy efficient home renovations?

Posted by: Subprime_Minister | March 2, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

yet another program that does nothing for the responsible, who, even earlier this year, bought the insulation, doors, caulking, etc., and made their homes energy efficient. if you do something on your own, you get ZILCH. if you wait for the government, you get ALL THE BENEFITS. is it any wonder that people just sit on their butts and wait for another government program! ... and this isn't socialism? then just precisely what is it?

Posted by: mountainredneck | March 2, 2010 7:17 AM | Report abuse

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