Adding an entertaining dimension to the appeal of energy-saving home improvements and building on the promise of new tax incentives for homeowners, President Barack Obama termed insulation "a sexy subject" during a Home Depot visit in Alexandria, Va., on Tuesday.
"Here's what's sexy about it. It saves money," Obama noted in comments aimed at encouraging Congress to pass incentives for homeowners who insulate and otherwise upgrade their homes to make them more energy efficient.
In one of his most comprehensive speeches on the subject, Obama drove home the issues facing homeowners seeking to spend less heating and cooling their homes.
"Homes built in the first half of the last century can use about 50% more energy than homes that are built today. And because most of our homes and office aren't energy-efficient, much of that energy just goes to waste, while costing our families and businesses money they can't afford to throw away."
This new incentive program, AKA "Cash for Caulkers," is still in the works, but it's expected to provide participating homeowners with up to $12,000 in rebates and as much as a 20% drop in their energy bills. Companies in the renewable energy and efficiency industries would also benefit from program dollars, creating new job opportunities as well as more options for consumers seeking energy-saving solutions.
"The simple act of retrofitting these buildings to make them more energy-efficient -- installing new windows and doors, insulation, roofing, sealing leaks, modernizing heating and cooling equipment -- is one of the fastest, easiest and cheapest things we can do to put Americans back to work while saving families money and reducing harmful emissions," he said.
Under the current energy tax rebate program, homeowners are eligible to earn up to $1,500 in one-time tax credits for energy efficiency improvements made during 2009 and 2010, so the leap to projected "Cash for Caulkers" incentive levels is definitely attractive. Plus, many of these improvements are simple – and can be completed by homeowners themselves or contractors at a very low cost, and further reduced by the proposed incentives.
Many in this country have genuine concerns about the direction President Obama has taken the nation on a number of issues. But on this issue, he has shown extraordinary leadership, vision and initiative and on that, should have our total support.
Well, maybe except for the sexy insulation part. That's one building material you should definitely keep out of the bedroom.
Tom Kraeutler delivers tips on saving energy each week as host of The Money Pit, a nationally syndicated home improvement radio program. He is also AOL's Home Improvement Editor and author of "My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure."