Obama pushes 'sexy' home insulation

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US President Barack Obama on Tuesday told Americans that insulating their homes to save energy might sound dull and boring, but it was really a sexy subject.

Two days before heading to Denmark for the UN climate summit, Obama traveled to a Home Depot hardware store in Virginia to tout government incentives for making homes more energy efficient.

"In our nation's buildings, our homes and our offices consume almost 40 percent of the energy we use and contribute almost 40 percent of the carbon pollution that we produce," Obama said.

"And everybody's talking about it right now in Copenhagen."

The scheme is intended as a building block in the new green economy Obama is trying to create to trim US energy use, safeguard the environment and lessen US dependence on foreign sources of oil.

As the administration fights 10 percent unemployment, officials also hope that by offering tax incentives for home improvements they will create thousands of jobs.

"This is a smart thing to do. We have to get beyond this point - where we think that somehow being smart on energy is a job destroyer - in fact it is a job creator," Obama said, after a roundtable with local business people.

Tongue-in-cheek, Obama bemoaned the fact that people's eyes tend to glaze over when the topic of home improvement was raised as a way of saving energy and creating jobs.

"I know the idea may not be very glamorous, although I get really excited about it. We were at the roundtable and somebody said, 'Insulation's not sexy.'"

"I disagree. Here is what is sexy about it, saving money. I told you insulation is sexy!"

Under Obama's 787 billion dollar economic stimulus plan passed earlier this year, homeowners can get tax credits for 30 percent of the cost of retrofitting their dwellings up to a cost of 1,500 dollars.

The president called on Congress to provide more temporary incentives for homeowners to insulate their properties.

The administration says a homeowner's investment could result in energy savings of up to 150 dollars a year on energy bills, which would mount up an eventually pay for the costs of insulating the house many times over.

Vice President Joe Biden said in a memo to Obama on Tuesday that this and other energy components of the stimulus package represented the "largest single investment in clean energy in American history."