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November 12, 2010

Vice President Biden Announces New Recovery through Retrofit Initiatives

On Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden declared that maximizing home energy efficiency across the country can help transform American energy consumption patterns, cut residenital greenhouse gas emissions and grow the 21st century economy.

To tackle barriers that prevent widespread residential energy efficiency gains, he and Secretaries Chu, Donovan, and Solis introduced the Home Energy Score program, the Power Saver loan program and an overarching set of guidelines to ensure customer protection and quality control.

A strong home energy efficiency industry saves Americans money, stimulates the construction industry, and creates family-supporting green jobs.

Taking advantage of newly developed software, The Home Energy Score program provides a standardized system for utilities and contractors to assess home energy efficiency and then produce a simple, understandable report indicating how and where homeowners can make efficiency improvements. Both the report and standardized score will streamline homeowner-contractor engagement, identify cost-saving improvements to homeowners, and ultimately raise the sale value of efficient homes by providing documented energy savings.

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Recognizing the financial barriers faced by many homeowners who seek efficiency upgrades, V.P. Biden also introduced the Power Saver loan program. This initiative will provide—in addition to local financing structures—a low-interest national loan option available from a variety of mainstream lenders. The goal of this loan program is to secure the long term viability and benefits of energy efficiency beyond the stimulus spending timeframe.

V.P. Biden concluded his statements by expressing his steadfast belief in the realistic goal of upgrading 100 million homes nationwide. He stressed, however, that home energy efficiency is only the beginning of a new clean energy economy that champions both clean, safe renewable energy and the domestic manufacturing industry to support it.

Around the country, Sierra Club is working closely with communities who are building awareness about energy efficiency and building performance: programs in Maine, Denver, ColoradoPortland, Oregon and Bainbridge Island, Washington are utilizing tools and engaging local leaders to deepen community participation in efficiency efforts.

Still, there is much more that can be done. We encourage everyone to consider improving their own home's energy efficiency, talk to friends, neighbors and colleagues about affordable financing options and engage in developing local solutions that lead to healthier homes and stronger communities.

For additional coverage of Vice President Biden’s announcements, check out these articles from USA Today, CNET and Sustainable Business.

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