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Schumer: LI program a model for 'Cash for Caulkers'

The federal government should use a Long Island program as its model for a proposed federal effort to upgrade energy-wasting older homes, Sen. Charles Schumer said Monday as he pushed the "Cash for Caulkers" concept.

Using the tidy Garden City Park home of Annette and Jon Foppiano as a backdrop, Schumer said he would urge a proposed federal "Homestar" program be modeled after the Town of Babylon's home-energy retrofit program.

"We're here today because there's a new program that represents a win, win, win for homeowners like Annette and Jon, for Long Island and for the country, and the program would help jump-start the economy," Schumer (D-N.Y.) said.

Homestar is designed to improve energy efficiency in older homes through insulation upgrades and other cost-effective improvements that can help reduce utility bills.

The proposed initiative would give taxpayers incentives for energy-related home improvements, but details of the program must still be worked out by the federal government.

Homestar could be similar to Babylon's Long Island Green Homes program in three ways, Schumer said: by targeting it to communities that work together, by targeting older homes and by providing funding directly to local governments.

In Babylon's program, the town pays the contractor for the upgrades, then works with residents on a repayment schedule.

Babylon developed the green homes program, which begins with a home-energy audit. It has joined seven other Long Island towns to encourage retrofit energy improvements to residential properties, Schumer said.

"The industry could definitely use a boost," said Sal Ferro, owner of Alure Home Improvements in East Meadow, who likes the Homestar concept. "Everyone thinks people who are not moving are improving, but money is tight, so that's just not the case."

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