I’m typically a really big fan of how green Austin is.Â Austin Energy offers some of the best incentives in the nation to its customers, the general public supports green projects, there’s a big awareness of green building, etc…
However, the city of Austin is discussing issuing an ordinance to mandate energy efficiency levels of all properties in Austin.Â This includes single family homes built in 1920, to homes built yesteryear.Â This is part of the Mayor’s Climate Protection Plan.
So…the Austin Board of Realtors has an advisor sitting on the committee, and he/she has reported back that it looks very strong that the committee will recommend enforcing this at point of sale.Â Before someone can sell their home, they will be required to pass an energy efficiency inspection.Â Basically, it’s similar to emission inspections – it’s an absolute requirement.
This has big implications to homeowners in Austin.Â Without a certificate of compliance filed prior to closing, the property can’t legally be sold.Â Expenses will vary from home to home, but typically, a home that doesn’t pass will require $1500 – $10k in retrofits in order to obtain it’s certificate.
The shear volume of home sales is a big problem with this plan.Â There are roughly 25k properties sold in Austin annually.Â So….expect 25k inspections.Â If half of the homes fail, and a reinspection is required – increase that number to 37,500 inspections.Â Is the city ready for this?Â Who will take care of it – the city, or will local contractors have to be licensed to perform the inspections?
I’m not a fan of “big brother” government in the least.Â Up to this point, the city of Austin has done a damn fine job rewarding those who want to go greener by offering incentives.Â If this new ordinance comes through in this incarnation, and passes, I see big problems.Â I see lawsuits.