Democrats to Turn Spotlight on Energy Efficiency Programs This Week

By Katherine Ling of Greenwire in the New York Times, March 8 2010

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) is a champion for energy efficiency and has pushed stakeholders and focused his staff on improving standards across the board this session. He is also leading efforts to get energy efficiency tax incentives for home and commercial building included in the Democrats' jobs agenda.

So far, Democrats have included a one-year credit extension of $1,000 to $2,000 for new energy efficient homes in the tax extenders bill the Senate is set to take up this week. Bingaman would like to put more efficiency incentives in future jobs bills and is hoping the two hearings may convince more of his colleagues, including ranking member Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Thursday, Bingaman's panel will consider the "Home Star" program (also known as "Cash for Caulkers") to provide rebates for upgrades to homes; "Building Star," a similar program for commercial retrofits; and manufactured housing rebates. A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee will take up the issue on Friday.

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