Washington Report

Tax credits; healthcare; consumer protection

White House Tries to Remove Barriers to Home Energy Retrofits

1023_WashWeek4

Vice President Joe Biden unveiled a plan this week that would allow homeowners to install renewable energy systems and retrofit buildings and pay off the expense over time on their property tax bills. New homebuyers and homeowners who are refinancing would be able to include the cost of an energy upgrade in their mortgage. Retrofitting homes could cut home energy bills by $21 billion annually, according to the report, saving the average household more than $700 each year.

The recommendations were among several proposals included in a Recovery Through Retrofit report that would lower U.S. energy consumption and create jobs. Biden and other administration officials who attended the report’s release at an event in the Old Executive Building on Monday said that it builds on the foundation laid in the Recovery Act to expand job and business opportunities for the middle class.

“We’re not just creating jobs for their own sake, we’re trying to create jobs here as a cornerstone for the 21st century economy,” said Biden. And they’re jobs that “are literally of the future, jobs that will not be able to be easily exported, jobs that you can actually raise your family on.”

The report, which is part of the Middle Class Task Force chaired by Biden, does not commit any new funds for home energy upgrades, but does try to make it easier and more appealing for people to make and finance energy upgrades. Other recommendations include creating national workforce certifications and training standards for energy efficiency and retrofit workers and providing access to consistent, consumer friendly retrofit information.

The Department of Energy also announced that it is accepting applications for a $390 million “Retrofit Ramp-Up” program for states, local governments and Indian tribes to create partnerships to retrofit entire neighborhoods at a time.

Click here to watch a video of the event.

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