Cash for Caulkers Takes Center Stage; Energy Efficiency’s PR Problem
President Obama "filled in the cracks" on the long-rumored Cash for Caulkers program yesterday as part of a new jobs plan. The latest details have consumers eligible for a $12,000 tax credit if they take steps to weatherize their homes. The goal would be to put contractors back to work and also stimulate the buying of home products aimed at energy efficiency, which would be good news for Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart and others sellers of home improvement materials.
We first heard of the Cash for Caulkers program leading up to the GreenBeat Conference on Smart Grid technologies. John Doerr, a partner at Kleiner Perkins, had suggested the idea to policymakers some time ago.
This caps the third consecutive day of positive news around renewable energy, energy efficiency and climate change, as Obama looks to bolster US credibility on energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. The news coincides with the Cop15 in Copenhagen.
Speaking of energy efficiency, the New York Times reports on a new study that says that focusing on efficiency could reduce energy consumption by 30 percent by 2030, thereby reducing the need for the US to build new power plants. The article reminded me of the fact that renewable energy continues to get the lion’s share of media attention, even as people look for cost-effective, pragmatic and near-term ways to cut energy usage in a down economic environment.
That is not to say that renewables get too much attention as they are a critically important part of energy independence and the US economy. But rather that companies with legitimate energy efficiency products need to do a better job marketing the size of the problem they solve and the potential ROI for customers–and the economy at large.
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