The battered U.S. economy is still the bottom line for Obama. He told business leaders and workers Tuesday morning that making homes and businesses more energy efficient ought to be a priority for Congress, because it's smart and, well, sexy.
"Here's what's sexy about it: saving money," he said.
Playing the sexy card to a crowd at a Virginia Home Depot may have been a bit of a stretch. But, Obama is pushing hard for his energy efficiency plan. He's trying to pressure Congress into passing incentives for home and business owners who make their buildings more energy efficient.
"Our nation's buildings, homes and offices consume almost 40 percent of the energy we use and contribute about 40 percent of the carbon pollution that we produce," said Obama.
The plan the president first revealed last week would provide tax breaks to home and business owners that install energy efficient windows and doors and new insulation to keep the weather out and utility bills down. The White House isn't saying how much it would cost, but, some estimates put the price tag at $150 million.
"If you saw 20 dollar bills just sort of floating through the window up into the atmosphere you would try to figure out how you were going to keep that. But that's exactly what's happening," said Obama.
The president says retrofitting a home or business is not only good for the homeowner, it can be a real boost for the economy.
"Folks buy materials from home improvement stores like this one, which then buys them from manufacturers, which spurs hiring because local contractors and construction workers do the insulation; it saves consumers money, perhaps hundreds of dollars off their utility bill," said Obama.
About $8 billion of the big stimulus package earlier this year went to promote energy saving investments in homes. Obama says combining the stimulus with other incentives could result in more than one million home improvement projects being done by 2012.