CNAIMA Head Applauds House Passage of Rural Star Program – Urges Senate Action on Home Star

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Once signed into law, Rural Star and similar programs like Home Star mean tens of thousands of jobs for insulation installers, manufactures, and contractors who have been hard-hit by the recession.

The head of America’s leading association of insulation manufacturers today praised the full House of Representatives for adopting the Rural Energy Savings Act (Rural Star) and urged the Senate to move quickly in taking up this “urgent and timely” jobs and energy efficiency measure.

“Representatives on both sides of the aisle came together today to recognize what Rural Star means to job creation, energy savings, and environmental protection in rural America,” said Kate Offringa, the president and chief executive officer of the Council of the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association. “I applaud this bipartisan effort and the leadership of many Members, especially House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC), for helping to pass this crucial bill.”

The Rural Star measure, which passed the House by a vote of 240 to 172, would establish a $5 billion consumer loan program administered by rural electric cooperatives. The cooperatives would provide "micro loans" to their consumers for energy efficiency upgrades at interest rates no higher than three percent, with a maximum 20-year repayment period. The program is designed, Offringa pointed out, to make it easier for rural homeowners to install energy efficiency upgrades – including insulation – to their homes, reducing monthly energy bills and cutting emissions of greenhouse gases from power plants.

Studies say Rural Star will generate 20,000 to 40,000 new jobs. “Once signed into law, Rural Star and similar programs like Home Star mean tens of thousands of jobs for insulation installers, manufactures, and contractors who have been hard-hit by the recession,” Offringa continued.

A similar bipartisan coalition on both sides of Capitol Hill strongly supports the expedited passage of the Home Star Energy Retrofit bill, which is still under consideration by the Senate and strongly supported by CNAIMA. The Home Star Energy Efficiency Loan Program, included in the Rural Star bill passed today, enhances the larger Home Star program by providing access to financing to homeowners for the rebated, energy cost-saving home retrofits outlined in Home Star.

“The sooner Congress can get these measures to the President’s desk, the quicker we can create productive jobs for small businesspeople in distressed communities across the country,” Offringa said.

About the Council of NAIMA
The Council of the North America Insulation Manufacturers Association advocates for policies and programs that encourage and incentivize increased energy efficiency through insulation in new and existing residential and commercial buildings and industrial applications. Membership in the Council of NAIMA is open to thermal and acoustical insulation manufacturers – regardless of insulation product type – and their suppliers located in North America.

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Tim Gay

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