home star act of 2010

Or ‘‘Cash for Caulkers’’

Is this program in effect? Has it passed the Senate? I know it passed the HOR.

My understanding is that it is funded to the end of the year. With all the talk about cutting spending I highly doubt that the subsidies for Cash for caulkers, homestar et al will continue. My guess is that this entire end of the business will crash and burn next year. John Snell made a comment about this on his MB www.irtalk.com.

This bill passed the house vote but has not been presented in the Senate. I doubt this will pass because of the 6 Billion dollar price tag. It has morphed from a simple 19 page bill to over 900 pages.

My guess is it will never get implemented.

Read this for my personal experience with government subsidized energy retrofit programs.

Thanks for the replies guys.

Peter, would you recommend getting BPI certified just to do basic energy auidts? Debating on if I should get into energy auidts.

Also, Inspection World Conference is offering RESNET/BPI training and certification. These courses, training, certification looks costly. I guess they’re more geared for in depth energy audits and scope of work.

Ray, I’ve invested a lot of money in energy audit training and unfortunately the only audits that are popular are ones that are subsidized and unless you like government red tap you won’t enjoy them.

That said, NHs weatherization program has been in place for over 30 years and the standards are about 100 pages long. Also, it will take you more time than a home inspection to do an audit, write a report/scope of work and then go back to test out.

It’s a tough market and unless you have large company resources behind and it will be hard to find value in it.

Not only that but the market is getting flooded with new auditor as training facilities are pumping them out like crazy. I think NH has seen over a 200% increase in energy auditors in the last year alone. Everyone smells money and they’re coming out of the woodwork.

Now, if #2 oil would get to $4.50 a gallon people would be jumping on the bandwagon. Right now there are to many subsidized programs.

Thanks again for your input Peter. IMO, in this area I’m just not seeing a demand for energy auidts or getting the BPI/RESNET certification yet… I like what they have to offer, I’d love to get into this field and offer these type services but it seems that it does not justify the costs yet.

Homestar will pass. The question is… when? Cash for Clunkers was originated in 2007 but took a few years to make it. I doubt Reid will put the Energy Bill back on the floor of the Senate, however, if it get’s repackaged into a small jobs bill (like it was originally slated for) it may have a chance after the first of the year. Just my .02 cents.

Cash for clunkers was a flop and still many dealerships waiting on their cash yet today…

As Pete suggested, if you can stomach the red tape, deceit, and fraud that comes with such government programs… it may be worth a look. Their are some good companies and providers out there, but going at it as a sole proprietor will be a tough road in many areas of the country. You may consider working as a sub or auditor for a larger company with government or PUC contracts under their belt.

I spoke otherwise in the past, but I’m making a killing on energy audits (no gov. sub.)!
90% Audits, vs residential HI’s.

There is an issue where callers can’t afford their fuel bill. How can they afford you? And how can they afford the repairs you come up with. The gov.won’t cover it in most cases.

As the weather cools, I suspect it to pick up more here.

Home Star is not “Cash for…” It never passed…

$5 gal for gas will get things going…


Not sure what you meant by your comment on Homestar not being cash… Homestar is known as cash for caulkers. The original cash for clunkers program was something different. The 2 billion used for cash for clunkers was taken from 6 billion of AARA (American Reinvestment and Recovery Act) that was set aside for weatherization. As of today only 50% of that weatherization money has been spent.

As Peter pointed out some of that money was used very unwisely, mainly because the states were put in charge of it. There was some fraud. Like anything else, the media blows it up to be bigger than it actually was. For the 98% of programs that are working and the 25% that are working extremely well, you will not hear of those. Rather the 2% of the bad gets the focus. People love drama and negativity.

As far as Homestar goes, I actually think it is a positive for the industry, if it doesn’t pass. As Peter also pointed out a lot of people came out of the wood work to get their Obama bucks. This created a lot of low quality work that was almost all subsidized. As David pointed out, there is a lot of money in energy audits, but just like anything else, if you have the build it and they will come mentality, you will flop.

The commercial side of the industry stands on its own and had little to no government dollars thrown at it. I know of auditors that do $15,000 plus inspections. Google ASTM E779 or USACE large building testing. There are only a handful of companies that do this in the country, so they pretty much set their own price. I feel when the government bucks flow out of the residential side of the industry it will weed out the weak and allow for higher margins within the companies that know how to market and close deals…much like the construction market is today.

By the way, if you are planning on getting in to the commercial front on a shoe string budget, don’t bother even looking into it. Training and equipment alone will set you back $35,000+. Together with marketing, networking and giving it a year to survive I wouldn’t attempt it without at least 100k available or already have the means to support your self through a current industry.


Here is John’s quote from IRTALK:
The outcome of the election this weeks makes passage of the Home Star bill in the Senate look, unfortunately, less likely than ever. Rather than invest in efficiency, we seem destined to continue to export energy dollars and/or add to the CO2 blanket we’ve wrapped our Planet in. *
One thing that has not changed, however, is the rising cost of energy. The Boston Globe reported (http://www.boston.com/business/personalfinance/articles/2010/10/23/energy_forecast_brings_a_chill/) that the cost of heating a home is projected to rise 5-14% depending on the fuel type. Given there is more fuel than ever, the reasons are complex—world trade issues being the largest factor. What is not complicated is that this is, I believe, an indicator of where we are headed: higher prices and more uncertainty about prices.
*Now is the best time to do what we can to reduce home energy use. Considering that nearly 40% of energy used in the US is used in homes and the potential impact is huge. Clearly thermography can play a key role in ensuring that work which is done is done effectively, unlike the work show in this thermal image! *

Where did he call for a downfall “crash and burn” of the entire industry? It seems he is pointing more towards the private sector getting more involved in the industry vs government.

Once again I think once government intervention gets out of the way and oil continues to keep going up ($85 a barrel last week), the residential side of the industry will be able to stand on its own two feet.

If you want a really good read check out what Australia has done over the past 3 years with weatherization and what they want to do by 2025…Net Zero anyone? Also, check out what Washington (the state) just recently passed with mandatory point of sale energy audits.

Here is another post by John a couple of weeks ago on WAP programs and fraud, basically saying what I just said in the last post:

*Actually, despite this instance and a few others elsewhere, outright fraud has been minimal, especially when compared with other programs with large infusions of money. In most areas the work is remarkably high quality, though there are numerous examples where WAP doesn’t have the resources to go far enough in dealing with all the problems in a home so compromises are made. *
Oak Ridge Labs estimates a 2.51 cost benefit ratio, for example (http://weatherization.ornl.gov/pdfs/ORNL_TM-2010-66.pdf). I would urge you and other readers to dig beneath the headlines and learn more. I’m not suggesting the program is perfect but given the task at hand and the rapid expansion, most argue they’ve done quite well. They are, of course, under intense political scrutiny.


Where have you been Jason? We haven’t seen you here for a while.

This “dead” industry keeps me busy for 14 hours a day, been nuts over the past few months.