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The trial run for "Cash for Caulkers" is a big hit. Another of the the green-jobs-and-carbon-footprint-reduction projects funded by the Obama Administration Recovery Act funds has really caught on big time. The first is Property Assessed Clean Energy Financing to make solar essentially free (Joe Biden to Solar Power the USA With PACE Berkeley First Municipal Financing) with just one county's result: Rooftop Solar = 4% of Sonoma County's Power.

Energy Efficiency

Minnesota Model for the Home Star Program Runs Out of Funds

The trial run for “Cash for Caulkers” is a big hit. Another of the the green-jobs-and-carbon-footprint-reduction projects funded by the Obama Administration Recovery Act funds has really caught on big time. The first is Property Assessed Clean Energy Financing to make solar essentially free (Joe Biden to Solar Power the USA With PACE Berkeley First Municipal Financing) with just one county’s result: Rooftop Solar = 4% of Sonoma County’s Power.

A Minnesota trial run for “Cash for Caulkers” has turned out to be wildly successful. It represents another of the the green-jobs-and-carbon-footprint-reduction projects funded by the Obama Administration Recovery Act funds that has really caught on big time. The first was Property Assessed Clean Energy Financing to make solar essentially free (Joe Biden to Solar Power the USA With PACE Berkeley First Municipal Financing) with this result from just one county: Rooftop Solar = 4% of Sonoma County’s Power.

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But another is a Minnesota energy efficiency retrofit plan that appears to be the successful forerunner for Home Star, in the same way that Berkeley First was the model for the PACE program. 

Using $2.5 million in Federal funds, the Builders Association of Minnesota launched their Project ReEnergize rebate program just three months ago, and is now retrofitting more than 1,200 homes. The program funds up to $4,000 of the costs for window replacements, or air sealing, exterior wall insulation, and water heater replacements if accompanied by attic insulation.

Like the Federal Home Star (“Cash for Caulkers“) program, there are strings attached: For contractors: A mandatory training program to ensure standards. For houses: No McMansions need apply. Houses must be smaller than 3,000 square feet and should be over nine years old (because recent Minnesota building code upgrades keep newer ones relatively efficient).

By December 21 about $648,000 had been paid out for completed projects. But now the applications actually exceed the $2.5 million in funding. This success is very different from the tax credits for efficiency upgrades that have seen disappointing results.

Whether this state’s program gets another infusion of funds to keep going, or whether it gets folded into the nationwide plan remains to be seen. The national program has the option of covering a wider range of more advanced technology options, like tankless hot water heaters, white roofing and solar thermal hot water heating.

Image: Building Green

Source: Greenbuilding Adviser

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writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today and Renewable Energy World.  She has also been published at Wind Energy Update, Solar Plaza, Earthtechling PV-Insider , and GreenProphet, Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.

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