Sunday, July 25, 2010


On this my inaugural, formal contribution (other than assorted reader comments over the years) to Modular Home Builder, called Green-Feed, I address something hot on everyone’s minds: government policy making.

HOME STAR is proposed legislation to create jobs in existing industries by providing strong short-term incentives for energy efficiency improvements in residential buildings. Home Star, as part of larger energy policy initiatives, is working its way through Congress.


Why is Home Star a big deal?

Because there’s $6,000,000,000 worth of incentives for improving our existing housing stock. AND, because the improvements have an immediate effect on reducing our reliance on foreign sources of energy.

Unlike “cash for clunkers” which scrapped SUV’s for more fuel efficient cars and a modest reduction in US fuel consumption, Home Star (aka “cash for caulkers”) aims to deliver much greater results in a sector of our economy that positively devours energy (housing represents roughly 20% of U.S. consumption). The ROI to home owners is 16%... try getting that on Wall Street (assuming you’re not an executive at Goldman Sachs).

Why discuss this on the MHB blog?

Let me count the ways… no, I can’t; there are too many. Here are 5:

  1. We’re in the housing industry
  2. We need financial incentives to support housing – old or new
  3. While MHB focuses on new construction, any incentives that will put us back to work improving existing homes is far better than nothing (RIP new home tax credit)
  4. Let’s not kid ourselves – with the exception of a very, very few, everyone reading this has considered remodeling since the bottom fell out of housing years ago
  5. This is the Green-Feed – any discussion about energy efficiency is a discuss ion about the cornerstone of green building

How can I support Home Star?

Join. Just fill out this form and add your name to the list of supporters (it can’t hurt your search engine ranking with your name listed online). We need a massive drive behind this legislation to get us back to work.

This sounds too good to be true…

Maybe it is; it’s quite possible that our orangutans… uh… officials in DC will bungle this bill too. But does it matter? A quick study of the fundamentals of residential energy efficiency tells you it’s good for owners’ bottom line. And therefore, if you play your cards right, it will be good for your bottom line. Home Star or not. If you remain unconvinced, then stay tuned for the next installment of GREEN-FEED.

In the mean time support Home Star. It’s the right thing to do!

Certified Green Professional Harris Woodward is a Board Member of the Maryland Residential Green Building Council and regular speaker on residential energy efficiency initiatives, and Principal of Finish Werks Green Builders, a central Maryland based design/build firm focused on high performance green building using modular construction.


Builder Bob said...

Coach, even though I really enjoy all the articles you write, it is good that you are expanding your blog to include stories written by experts in their own fields. mr Woodwood looks like he will be a good addition to your blog.

Anonymous said...

And I quote,"it’s quite possible that our orangutans… uh… officials in DC"...
Sorry guy, you evidently think these comments are ok...I find them offensive.
You just lost at least one reader.

Long Island Builder said...

I read the article this morning. I do not put any faith in the current administration. I also do not want to contribute to anything he could call a success. I understand people need to work and support there family. If builders want or need to quit building and focus on renovations then I think they should focus all the effort on the new business model. If a builder is planning on doing green renovation and other renovations as a temporary solution I believe both businesses will probably fail due to the lack of long term planning.

Being negative is not my style but I believe in being realistic.

Anonymous said...

I think most of this blogs readers are NEW HOME builders and not renovators. So urging readers to convert existing homes to green homes may be lost.
And TOO MANY benefits for you to list. C'mon who are you trying to fool -certainly not professional builders who have been around the block more than once.
If you are going to write for this blog at least make it interesting and not give us fairy tales.
Boy, Home Star, Energy Star, Green Builder, Certified Green Builder,US Green Building Council, World Green building Council, LEED, (insert name of state) Green Building Council, Greenbuild, Green Home Guide, NAHB Green,etc. Have I left anyone out - NO DOUBT as every out of work person wants to jump on the green building bandwagon so they can profit from it. No thank!

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Anonymous 1:21pm. All of this built it green is a lot of overblown hype. Plus, I do not like the political overtone the write took; but, I think that is the ilk of many of the advocates of green building. Kinda reminds me of tree huggers. Anything new is better than the old. I do not see me reading any additional green building HOMESTAR posts.

Anonymous said...

Wow Coach....seems like your Green Building contributor has not been welcomed with open arms. But, the write only has himself to blame with all the self serving comments plus writing about politics is a sure way to lose readers.

Harris said...

I hear you guys: 1. If public approval ratings for Congress are in the teens, and NAHB has always advocated for industry-driven change (as opposed to government mandates) why discuss it at all? 2. Why make blustery assumptions about political leanings over what is just a cut-and-paste of the news? Supporting jobs should be apolitical. 3. My apologies to our friend, the orangutan. 4. If my sub can feed his family spraying insulation because I have no work for him, I call that a win-win. 5. For those of you confusing tree hugging with building high performance homes, good luck.

You're going to need it.