Revamped “Cash for Caulkers” finds a place in Obama budget proposal

President Barack Obama is once again trying to promote energy-efficient homes through his annual budget proposal, and he hopes legislators are more open to his ideas around energy efficiency than they were the first time he proposed these ideas.

Obama unveiled the details of his fiscal year 2013 budget on Monday, February 13, during a speech in Northern Virginia. The budget, which is available in full on the White House website, comprises $3.8 trillion for a variety of initiatives that the president believes are an integral component of economic recovery.

One such program is a $6 billion initiative called the HomeStar program. In 2010, Obama first proposed the HomeStar program, which gained the moniker "Cash for Caulkers" as a spin-off of the popular 2009 Cash for Clunkers program related to used cars. But, instead of getting money in exchange for old vehicles, Obama proposed that consumers would be able to boost their home energy efficiency through the financial support of the government.

Under this most recent iteration of the proposal, homeowners would receive rebates for installing new, energy-efficient heating and insulation and for sealing ducts, windows and doors.

This is just one initiative related to energy reform in the United States. Obama also set aside two separate $1 billion plans that would produce institutes dedicated toward innovating manufacturing processes and promote the use of electrical vehicles.

"We will work with the private sector, utilities and states to increase the energy productivity of American industries while investing in the innovative processes and materials that can dramatically reduce energy use," Obama said in his official budget message.

Homeowners should install energy-efficient insulation and other energy improvements regardless of whether legislators embrace the HomeStar program with the same fervor Obama has. These enhancements can save homeowners money in the long term, despite upfront expenses.