The pool industry could benefit from a proposed $6 billion energy rebate program.
The federal Home Star bill, also known as “Cash for Caulkers,” encourages Americans to invest in energy-saving equipment and materials for their homes.
As it currently stands, the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010 (S.B. 3177) does not extend to swimming pools. However, industry advocates believe pools represent a logical extension of the proposal.
“It’s a natural progression,” said Jennifer Hatfield, who heads up government affairs for the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals and the Florida Swimming Pool Association. “There are a lot of ways you can save energy on existing pools, so why not include that, too?”
Under the program, consumers would receive rebates for making various energy-saving investments to their homes. Incentives would be based on the extent of improvements — the Silver Star level provides rebates up to $3,000 for upgrades such as new furnaces or water heaters; the Gold Star level offers larger incentives for retrofitting the entire home.
The Senate bill was introduced March 25 by Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, along with Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C. The House is expected to propose a similar bill in late spring.
Hatfield is currently collecting information from various pool product manufacturers to present to members of Congress in an effort to get the industry involved.
“We know it will positively impact contractors and job creation in the industry, among other areas,” Hatfield said. “I just want us to be included if at all possible.”
Working in the industry’s favor is the fact that numerous utility companies and agencies across the nation already offer rebates for certain high-efficiency pool products, including pumps, said David Warren, vice president of partner relations at the Electric & Gas Industries Association, a Sacramento, Calif.-based nonprofit that promotes energy-efficiency and renewable-energy usage.
“It makes logical sense as the next step to include that in the Home Star legislation,” Warren said. “I just don’t know if it’s been discussed yet.”