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What's going on with the Home Star legislation? Are rebates on the way? Should I wait to make my home more energy efficient?

Easy Answer: It looks like Home Star will be a part of the scaled-back energy bill Senator Harry Reid is planning to introduce next week. There's a chance the bill could pass before the August recess, so you might want to hold off on your remodeling plans just a bit longer.

Adrienne C. wrote asking: "Can you direct me to a website on the Home Star Retrofit legislation. I am trying to delay energy home improvements until the Bill passes."

Here's your answer Adrienne:

You can look at the language of the original proposed legislation in these two places:

House Bill 5019

Senate Bill 3177

But it looks like the Senate may take it up as part of Reid's new energy plan.

Lots of climate-change activists and environmentalists are, shall we say, peeved by Senate Dems' decision to back off comprehensive energy legislation in the near term. But that's not what you asked.

We don't know the details of Reid's new plan yet, but it is expected to include money for the Home Star program. Home Star, in its current form, promises $6 billion in rebates and financing for home owners looking to make their abodes more energy efficient--fixes like replacing insulation, windows, doors. Advocates say the program could also create 168,000 jobs, mostly in the construction industry.

Even if Home Star doesn't get the green light, those of you anxious to reduce your energy bills are not totally out of luck. Here are some other tax incentive and rebate programs to check out:

There's a group called the Tax Incentives Assistance Project (TIAP) that keeps track of the federal tax breaks available to residential and commercial consumers looking to make their homes, businesses and autos more energy efficient.

There's also an organization called the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency that keeps track of state and local incentives to make energy upgrades to everything from you home to your air conditioner.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy is also a good place to look for tips on reducing your energy bills. They have a checklist of things you can start doing today.

And of course, if you've got other good places to look for rebates and incentive programs, let me know.

About the author

Adriene Hill is the senior multimedia reporter for LearningCurve.

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