WASHINGTON, D.C. - Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana introduced a bill Tuesday to help homeowners and business owners save energy and cut energy bills.

The Clean Energy for Homes and Buildings Act will make low-interest loans available for energy-efficient building upgrades and provide financing and credit support available for local energy-efficiency programs.

Merkley modeled the legislation on Oregon's bipartisan House Bill 2626, which Gov. Ted Kulongoski recently signed into law. Energy-efficient retrofits dramatically cut energy bills over the long term, Merkely said in a written statement, but the initial installation costs are often too high for families or business owners.

"This bill bolsters creative programs that offer low-cost loans for these retrofits, allowing people to start saving money as soon as the upgrades are completed," Merkley said.

- Phil Wright

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