2010 Scorecard Vote
Housing accounts for 20% of our total energy usage, but increasing energy efficiency could reduce that number dramatically. For many homeowners, investing in measures that increase energy efficiency makes economic and environmental sense: the savings from lower utility bills quickly pay back the up-front cost of the improvements and decrease our dependence on dirty sources of energy. However, many consumers cannot afford new appliances, added insulation, or other improvements.
To assist consumers, Representative Peter Welch (D-VT) introduced H.R. 5019, the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010, which was later included in a larger package, H.R. 4785, the Rural Energy Savings Program. This legislation would offer rebates or interest-free loans for efficiency measures, enabling consumers to reduce their utility bills while creating needed construction and manufacturing jobs.
H.R. 4785 would authorize $5 billion over five years to create two energy efficiency loan programs, including $850 million annually for the Home Star Energy Efficiency Loan Program to support loans to finance energy efficiency home renovations and $150 million annually for the Rural Energy Savings Program to make loans to eligible entities for energy efficiency measures in rural areas.
On September 16, the House passed H.R. 4785 by a vote of 240172 (House roll call vote 530). YES IS THE PRO-ENVIRONMENT VOTE. The package was introduced in the Senate by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) as S. 3102, but it was not voted upon.