US House of Representative passed the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act (H.R. 5019) by a vote of 246 to 161. The legislation would provide rebates to homeowners who renovate their homes with more energy-efficient windows, doors and skylights. To become law, though, the US Senate must approve the Bill.
In short, the Bill includes two types of consumer incentives:
1) Silver Star provides up-front rebates for specific energy-saving investments, including windows and doors. Homeowners receive up to $1,500 per improvement—capped at a total of $3,000 or 50 percent of the total project cost. To qualify, homeowners need to replace at least eight exterior windows or skylights, or 75 percent of the exterior windows and skylights in their homes. Not all windows meet the minimum requirements as they need to have special insulating characteristics: U-value and 0.30 Solar Heat Gain Coefficient no greater than 0.30. Skylights and doors, on the other hand, must meet 2010 Energy Star criteria to qualify.
2) Gold Star provides larger rebates to homeowners who conduct a comprehensive energy audit and implement measures to reduce energy use. Consumers receive $3,000 for a demonstrated energy savings of 20 percent, plus an additional $1,000 for each additional 5 percent energy savings—capped at $8,000 or 50 percent of the project cost.
Vinyl impact windows and doors meet these requirements.
Source: Carlos Paesano http://www.impactwindows.net/2010/05/house-passes-home-star-bill.html