Congress is about to approve a program to put contractors back to work doing energy retrofits.

If Cash for Caulkers passes, home owners will be eligible for a tax credit worth up to $12,000 or half the cost of the retrofits, whichever is lower.

A home owner who spends $24,000 to cut his energy use in half will save an average of $100 per month, estimates Lane Burt, manager of building energy policy at the Natural Resources Defense Council. With a $12,000 tax rebate from the government, the payback will take 10 years.

Some real estate practitioners pointed out that energy retrofits might be a hard sell because they don't raise a home's sale value. It sounds good on paper, but it's just not how the American consumer makes choices, says Jeff Geoghan, a Coldwell Banker REALTOR® in Lancaster, Pa. If you're buying a house, and you see a furnace has a 95 percent efficiency rating, are you really going to make your decision based on that?

Source:, Steve Hargreaves