Washington Report

Dispatches from Capitol Hill

Obama Pushes Home Energy Efficiency

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Obama discusses retrofitting homes. (Source: The White House)

Insulation is sexy – or so said President Barack Obama Tuesday during a visit to a Home Depot in suburban Virginia — because it saves money.

“I’m calling on Congress to provide new temporary incentives for Americans to make energy-efficiency retrofit investments in their homes. And we want them to do it soon,” he told a group of people representing manufacturers, small businesses, contractors, and laborers.

Homes and offices are responsible for close to 40% of the nation’s energy consumption and 40% of the carbon monoxide produced and that homes built in the first half of the 20th century can use about 50% more energy than homes built later.

“The simple act of retrofitting these buildings to make them more energy-efficient — installing new windows and doors, insulation, roofing, sealing leaks, modernizing heating and cooling equipment — is one of the fastest, easiest, and cheapest things we can do to put Americans back to work while saving families money and reducing harmful emissions,” he said.

SBI Energy projects that the U.S. home retrofit market will reach $35 billion between 2009 and 2013, increasing 50% faster than the overall renovations market.

“If you saw $20 bills just sort of floating through the window up into the atmosphere, you’d try to figure out how you were going to keep that. But that’s exactly what’s happening because of the lack of efficiency in our buildings,” said Obama, who called for tax breaks last week for home energy-efficiency projects.

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