The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) said it supports a proposed new federal program that gives homeowners tax credit for making energy-efficient home improvements.The legislation, called the Home Star program or "Cash for Caulkers," has passed the U.S. House of Representatives and similar bills are pending in the Senate. The program is supported by President Obama.

Carpet is a natural fit for the Home Star program, as it has long been recognized as the only floor covering to measurably improve the "R value" (thermal resistance) of floors, according to CRI. The R-value measures how much a material resists the movement of heat through a ceiling, wall, or floor in a building. The higher the number, the more effective the insulation. Recent research conducted at the Georgia Institute of Technology, as well as independent scientific studies, have demonstrated that carpet increases the R-value, or insulation level, of the carpeted area, compared to other flooring materials, CRI noted.

"The enhanced R-value realized with the use of carpet can actually contribute to energy savings and lower utility costs," said Carpet and Rug Institute VP Frank Hurd. "In the Home Star bill, carpet would help homeowners qualify for the highest-level Gold Star $3000 tax credit reserved for renovations that result in an overall 20 percent energy savings."