Several House members planned today to introduce legislation creating Home Star, a measure designed to spur employment by giving tax credits for energy retrofits of homes

The bill was to be unveiled at a 1 p.m. news conference featuring Reps. Edward Markey (D-Mass.); Peter Welch (D-Vt.); Vern Ehlers (R-Mich.); and Denis Cardoza (D-Calif.)

Home Star enjoys considerable support. The Obama Administration first proposed it, Senate. Finance Committee chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), is lead sponsor for the Senate version of the bill, and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, has signed on as a lead sponsor of the House version. In addition, Markey is chairman of the Energy & Commerce subcommittee on energy and the environment, so the measure is likely to be acted on quickly if it's assigned to that committee.

Home Star authorizes up to $6 billion worth of tax rebates for the installation of energy-efficient products. According to text of the Senate version of the bill, Home Star authorizes two retrofit programs: Silver Star, which focuses on the installation of particular products; and Gold Star, in which rebates go to retrofits that achieve energy savings for the whole home.

Silver Star's rebates go to measures such as sealing off air leakage between the attic and the conditioned space; adding at least R-19 insulation to existing insulation; achieving insulation levels of at least R-38 in warmer areas and at least R-49 in colder parts of the United States; replacing or sealing ducts; replacing doors and windows with certified energy-saving products; and installing storm windows on windows that don't currently have them. Rebates generally top out at $1,500 per measure and $3,000 for all projects.

Gold Star focuses on whole-home energy savings. It will give a $3,000 rebate for a 20% reduction in the whole home's energy consumption, and an additional $1,000 (up to $8,000) for each extra 5% reduction.

Craig L. Webb is Editor of ProSales.