New program offers breaks for energy efficient home improvements

Everett, WA - (NBC) - Russell Johnson's new Everett, WA, home is getting a complete makeover.

"As we're doing the remodel, putting in the bathroom, putting in the bedrooms, we're taking off the drywall off the walls and putting in insulation so it's more energy efficient," Johnson said.

Johnson just heard of a new federal legislation dubbed "Cash for Caulkers" that could give him rebates from $250 to $8,000 for energy efficient improvements.

The bill could create 160,000 jobs for the slumping construction industry.

John Jacques, who owns a company installing windows, doors and siding laid off more than half his workers trying to weather a stormy economy.

"I think this program will really spur growth for us and business. It's gonna give people a little more incentive to make a difference with their homes and save energy," said Jacques.

The Master Builders Association supports the legislation, but they warn homeowners that many remodels now have a higher price tag because of a new EPA regulation on older homes with lead paint.

"We have the interesting effect of something like 'Cash for Caukers' that provides rebates, but then you have the EPA lead paint rule which could in fact drive up the cost of that job to begin with," said the Assocation's Dan Klusman.

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