Today, the House of Representatives will unveil their version of the Home Star bill with what appears to have bi-partisan support. The Senate version of the bill, which is not yet introduced and not too dissimilar, is still pending.
The positives include the following:
- Homeowners have to be encouraged to take the necessary steps to reduce wasted energy.
- The presence of a bill and the promotional muscle of the US government will constantly promote awareness and a call for action.
- Home repair companies and/or those selling energy conservation products from retail establishments may benefit (with some cautions).
Home Star contractors become certified under a program produced and administered by “BPI” (Building Performance Institute). Their program is excellent in terms of developing proficient methods to measure and advise homeowners of inequities which may exist in their homes regarding energy loss. A weakness may be seen in the average contractor’s inability to promote (market) the program, thus enabling the Home Star program to lead to profitably.
However there are some cautions:
- There is a clause which states “certified work force” referring to energy efficient construction workers who perform under the standards of third parties (i.e. BPI (excellent) and includes – The Labor’s International Union of North America???)
- The home improvement industry represents $300 billion annually. The installation workforce is essentially independent contractor driven. Small business people who own their trucks and equipment, who provide the installation and operate under the safe haven rules of independent status (a major cornerstone of our economy) may be at risk. Examine what follows.
In a statement issued together with the introduction of the proposed tax payer responsibility, accountability and consistency act of 2009, John Kerry (D-Mass) called for addressing the current loophole (his words) in the 1978 revenue act, section 530, containing the safe harbor/safe haven rules which acts as a basis for employing hundreds of thousands of small independent contractors within the $300 billion home improvement industry.
The conundrum: the Home Star program presents a positive idea to help homeowners. Any inequities contained within the bill are created by politicians (their staffs) who do not use efficient research to understand the home improvement industry.
On May 5th and 6th at the Home Improvement Profitability Summit, the subjects of weatherization, the Home Star Energy Bill and their value to the industry will be assessed.
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