On September 16th, the U.S. House passed HR 4785, the Rural Energy Savings Program Act, by a vote of 240-172.  The bill authorizes $5 billion over five years for two new energy efficiency loan programs: $850 million annually for Home Star, and $150 million annually for Rural Star (administered by the Department of Agriculture).


The Home Star Energy Efficiency program, which would be administered by the Department of Energy, would provide loans to states for programs that finance home renovations that promote energy efficiency. 


The Rural Star Energy Program, which would be administered by the Department of Agriculture, would make no-interest loans to eligible entities, such as rural utility providers, that would then lend money to rural energy consumers to make structural improvements and invest in technologies that reduce home energy use.