New Home Energy-Efficiency Incentives Could Boost Recovery, Says NAHB
National Association of Home Builders commended President Barack Obama as he proposed a new initiative to create jobs and make today’s homes more energy efficient.
In a Dec. 15th speech at a Home Depot in the suburban Washington, D.C. area, the president called on Congress to extend energy-efficiency tax credits for home owners as part of an $8 billion effort to reduce energy use.
“This is the kind of thinking that is going to get America back to work – and make a big difference in many home owners’ monthly utility bills,” said NAHB Chairman Joe Robson, a builder and developer in Tulsa, Okla.
NAHB estimates that 11,000 jobs, $527 million in wages and salaries, and $300 million in business income are generated by every $1 billion in new remodeling and home improvement activity. “That’s a huge impact just in the short run. And in the long run, the energy savings for participating home owners can be quite significant,” Robson said.
“This also bolsters a very important message and something we have been saying for years: If we really want to make an impact on the nation’s energy use, we need to take significant steps to make the existing housing stock more efficient,” Robson said.
He pointed out that state and local home builder associations affiliated with NAHB can be instrumental in the effort to weatherize older homes and make them more energy efficient.
For example, the Builders Association of Minnesota served as the conduit for federal stimulus program funds provided to the state for its energy-efficiency programs. The association trained nearly 1,000 remodelers and other residential contractors and funneled the money to 1,300 Minnesota home owners to help them make needed improvements.
Minnesota home owners got extra incentives for choosing projects like attic insulation, which some consumers don’t do because it’s something that’s not immediately visible, but when combined with incentives can bring a payback on utility bills within a year or two, depending on the climate.
“President Obama is right that these kinds of projects don’t seem ‘sexy,’ but saving money is very attractive, and so is providing jobs,” Robson said.
“These are efforts that the Administration should consider on a much larger scale,” he continued. “They provide employment, stimulate the economy and help us reduce our dependence on fossil fuels – that’s three great outcomes. NAHB can help make this happen all over the country.”
Last month, the White House Council on Environmental Quality invited NAHB to explain how home builders, product manufacturers and remodelers can be part of the Administration’s “Recovery Through Retrofit” solution with programs like Minnesota’s.
“We’re anxious to help with these efforts,” Robson said. “It’s what our members do, and do well – and they all want to get back to work.”
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