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Funding for Home Upgrades Urged in New Stimulus Bill

Efficiency backers hope to persuade Congress to include a $9 billion home-retrofit program in a jobs bill that lawmakers will consider this month. The Alliance to Save Energy is floating the initiative alongside workers' unions and several companies already doing home retrofits. They hope to finalize the details of the program -- including the exact size of the rebates -- by the time Congress considers new stimulus legislation.  The program, known as "Home Star," would cut rebate checks to homeowners who purchase approved upgrades. It would offer larger rebates for homes that shrink their energy appetites by 20 percent or more. 01/04 E&E