Home Energy Rating Disclosure Program: Yay Or Nay?

In the Government of Ontario’s “Climate Change Action Plan” released earlier this month, they included something called the “Home Energy Rating & Disclosure Program,” whereby any home, new or old, must undergo an energy audit before being listed for sale.

Of more interest to those of us who own real estate, the results of this audit must be included in the MLS listing.

This topic is going to enter us into a political debate, and while the results of that debate will never draw consensus, it’s a debate worth having nonetheless…

HousetoHome

It’s going to take every ounce of strength in my being to not turn this entire blog post into a political rant.

I’m pretty much an open book, as evidenced by the last nine years of blogging, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise for any of you to hear that I’m a fiscal conservative, and a social liberal, with a lot of room for grey areas.

I’m not a huge fan of government intervention in free markets, or government over-regulation.

I’m shocked at the amount of tax dollars collected from hard-working Ontarians that go to waste.

I’m tired of various levels of government putting together “committees” to do “studies” and release “findings.”

“Hey, do you guys think the sky is blue?”

“Yeah, we do.”

“But do we know for sure?”

“I have an idea!  Let’s put together a committee to investigate this.  Find six people, pay them each $80,000 a year to do a study, and then we’ll release that report and never act on anything.”

But I think it’s one thing to put our tax dollars to waste, and another thing entirely to tell us what to do with our money.

Like the Liberals’ new Ontario Retirement Pension Plan.  Why MUST I contribute to this?  Who knows better how to save for MY retirement: me, or the provincial government?

Spending our money, telling us what to do with our money, and now with the new Climate Change Action Plan, telling us where our morals and ethics should lay.

I get it: human beings are killing the planet, and have been since the dawn of civilization.

But the Liberals have decided to spend $8.3 Billion over the next five years to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and essentially telling us how to live our lives in many respects.

The results are going to be felt everywhere, and in everything we do.

And part of the CCAP is this new “Home Energy Rating & Disclosure Program,” which once again forces people to do something that should be, in my opinion, up to the individual.

Beyond that, they’re forcing Realtors to not only to put this “rating” on all MLS listings, but also to oversee all enforcement of the program!

In the Climate Change Action Plan, which you can read in full HERE, section 7 reads:

7) Help individuals and businesses manage their energy use and save money

By better understanding how people use energy, Ontarians can make informed choices on how to change their behaviours to help lower greenhouse gas pollution and fight climate change

So is that the case here?

Are they “helping” as they say?

Are they encouraging us to make “informed choices?”

What IS a choice anyways?

A choice is defined as “An act of selecting or making a decision when faced with multiple possibilities.”

So then are we actually free to choose?

No.  We’re not.

The section continues:

Energy audits would be required before a new or existing single-family home can be listed for sale, and the energy rating will be included in the real estate listing.

How the HELL is that a “choice?”

How is that “helping?”

The word “requirement” doesn’t really signify a choice.

And the words “before a home can be listed for sale” shows us that they’re doing more than imposing their will – they’ll actually prohibit us from conducting commerce in a free market.

Most of the real estate community has no idea what’s going on here, but the President of OREA, Patricia Verge, put together a 28-page proposal to Bob Chiarelli, the Minister of Energy, which you can read in full HERE.

While I don’t agree with every point submitted, let’s go through the issues that OREA sees with the HER&D Program.

These are the bullet points, with selected excerpts:

 


 

1) HER&D Hurts Ontario’s Housing Market

Since 2009, Ontario’s housing market has been a bright spot for the provincial economy, creating jobs, economic activity and generating tax revenue to governments. Unfortunately, affordability in some markets is a growing concern. The HER&D program is another government-imposed cost that will hurt the housing market by making it more difficult for Ontarians to sell their homes.

On average, the sale of a home in Ontario generates $55,000 in ancillary consumer spending. In 2014, Ontario’s housing market contributed over $11 billion in ancillary benefits to the province’s economy and generated 76,000 jobs.

Mandating a home energy audit would be an enormously unpopular initiative that will hurt the housing market, delay real estate transactions and cost the provincial economy millions of dollars.

2) No Consumer Protection

Unlike most other professionals involved in a real estate transaction, energy auditors are not licensed by a provincial regulator, not subject to a rigorously enforced code of ethics/conduct and not required to carry errors and omissions insurance. The lack of effective regulation poses a significant consumer protection risk.

HER&D will present a maze of bureaucracy for consumers. Natural Resources Canada is responsible for the audit itself, standards for training and the certification process. However, the training and monitoring of individual auditors occurs through service organizations who are also certified by NR Canada. HER&D is a provincially mandated program, yet the province has nothing to do with the audit, auditor or NR Canada.

According to NR Canada, when consumers have a complaint about an energy audit, they must contact the service organization that employs the auditor.

With service organizations being consumers’ first point of contact when it comes to complaints, OREA is concerned about the potential conflict of interest. According to energy auditors OREA interviewed for this submission, consumers make their payment directly to the service organization which is then responsible for remitting it to the auditor.

With service organizations relying on their auditors for revenue, how can consumers trust that their complaints will be handled appropriately?

3) Privacy of Home Owners

Under some HER&D programs in Europe, the results of an energy audit are published online in a government maintained registry. As a result, the public can access property-specific information about homes where an energy audit was done after the home has come off the market.

Homeowners have a right to privacy. The results of an energy audit are the property of the individual who purchased the audit. Moreover, the audits themselves contain property-specific information.

4) HER&D Stigmatizes Properties

The HER&D program will stigmatize properties that have low energy ratings. As a result, homeowners will be forced to lower their listing price. OREA is also concerned about the impact that a low energy rating will have on the availability of insurance and financing. Homebuyers may not be able to get insurance or a mortgage due to a low energy rating. This will have a significant impact on the saleability of a home and unfairly penalize homeowners.

5) HER&D Enforcement And Realtors

The ministry has suggested that REALTORS® would be the enforcement mechanism for the HER&D program. OREA adamantly opposes any attempt by the province to force our members to police HER&D. Moreover, it would put REALTORS® in conflict with their obligations to their clients under the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 (“REBBA”).

The enforcement proposal has three fundamental problems. It forces REALTORS® into a role (government enforcement) for which they are neither qualified nor want to perform. This requirement also puts REALTORS® in conflict with the Code of Ethics requirements under the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 (“REBBA”) whereby real estate licensees are obligated to act in the best interests of their clients at all times.

6) Fails To Target Root Causes

Without the HER&D program, the housing sector is already becoming more energy efficient. According to the Ministry of Energy, average household electricity consumption in Ontario has declined 25 percent since 1990. In addition, direct emissions from motor fuel and residential consumption account for less than one third (27 percent) of total household GHG emissions. Further, Statistics Canada found that heating, electricity and appliances, only accounted for 12.4 percent of total GHG emissions from homes.

The proposal also ignores the commercial and manufacturing sector which is becoming the largest emitter in Canada. By 2020, commercial will surpass residential emissions. In addition, since 1990, commercial and industrial buildings emissions in Ontario have risen by 30.8 percent compared to an increase of only 10.1 percent for residential buildings.

7) Ontario Is Not Europe

The ministry’s consultation document references European programs that are similar to HER&D, suggesting that those programs and their results can be replicated in Ontario. The ministry’s consultation document does not reference some of the underlying factors that exist in Europe which have led to the success of their HER&D program.

These factors are not prevalent in Ontario and as such this province cannot expect similar outcomes.

First, the housing supply in Europe is old and less energy efficient than properties in Ontario. This means improving energy efficiency is more of a policy imperative for the residential housing sector there.

Second, Europe also has significantly higher energy prices then Ontario, meaning that the cost of energy is a significant incentive to improve energy efficiency of a home. It is also an influencing factor in determining the value of a property. Ontario’s average cost per kilowatt hour is half of the average cost in Europe.

Lastly, European electricity generation is more reliant on fossil fuels. For example, 45.5 percent of all electricity production in Europe is from fossil fuels. In the last quarter of 2014, only 7.1 percent of Ontario’s electricity production was generated through fossil fuels.Due to the overwhelming majority of electricity production from clean energy sources in Ontario, a reduction in home energy consumption in Ontario will have only a minimal impact on the province’s GHG targets.

With a much younger housing stock, low energy prices and a system more reliant on clean energy, Ontario has less to gain from a program like HER&D than Europe. In short, what works in Europe is not likely to work in Ontario.

8) Homes Sold Privately

The government’s HER&D proposal would exempt all homes sold privately and any other properties not sold on “a listing service”. Homes not sold on a listing service are no different from homes sold on MLS®. The government’s proposal to exclude private sales lessens any potential GHG reductions.

9) Unfairly Targets Single-Family Home Owners

The Ministry of Energy’s consultation document notes that the HER&D program will not extend to commercial, industrial or agricultural properties. In addition, the requirement will not apply to multiunit residential properties like condominiums and apartments. Instead, HER&D will unfairly target single-family homes.

The current proposal would exempt almost half of the entire residential housing stock in Ontario. Excluding other forms of properties exempts a large portion of GHG emitters from mandatory energy audits, putting an unfair burden on single family homeowners.

10) The Multiple Listing Service

REALTORS own and operate the Multiple Listing Services (MLS). In Canada, the MLS and REALTOR trademark are protected by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) under contract from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) in the United States.

OREA rejects the ministry’s proposal and urges the province to pursue another method of achieving its policy objectives that does not directly involve the regulation of listing services in Ontario.

 


Right.

So there’s a good amount of “fluff” in there, I know.

The whole, “real estate is the Golden Goose” argument was used to try and combat the new Municipal Land Transfer tax, and it’s nothing new.

But I guess at the most basic level, I don’t like to see governments “forcing” people to do certain things, act a certain way, or take certain moral or ethical stances that would vary from person to person, or from political party to political party.

Then again, I could argue the opposite if I had to.

We have nutritional information on all our foods and drinks because people “need to know” how much fat, and how many calories, are present.

So do we “need to know” how energy efficient a home is?

And if human beings are slowly killing the planet, is it up to the elected body of government to make changes on our collective behalf for the greater good?

This debate could launch us into a whole other conversation about the role of government, but I’m already going to take enough heat (and probably get a bit of support too…) from readers based on my ideas thus far, so at this point – give me a “yay” or a “nay.”

Should “Home Energy Ratings” not only be mandatory for somebody who wants to sell a house, but also be a requirement on all active listings?

43 Comments

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  1. Free Country says:

    The weakness of the OREA’s arguments is astonishing — who approved putting that document out. The real issues are:
    — freedom, as per David’s original posting
    — the simple fact that currently the Toronto market is very hot, and is a sellers market. In a more balanced market, for example, buyers would hire their own inspectors and obtain their own inspection report and then really bargain over any key issues. Likewise, in a more balanced market, if enough buyers seek energy audits before buying, then they can and will become part of the buying process by the normal function of the market.
    — in the meantime, the government knows that this will boost employment by creating a new industry of home energy auditors which will employ… how many people across Ontario? A few hundreds? A thousand…
    — who will be of highly varying quality. In a hot, sellers’ market like Toronto currently, there will be certain energy audit firms who will become known in the market for doing slap-dash audits for cheap prices. And what is the buyer going to do — complain? However, I disagree that the solution to this is more regulation of home energy audits. So long as it remains a sellers’ market, cheap useless energy audits will now be the price of listing a home. When the market is more balanced — or if and when buyers really feel an energy audit would be useful — then quality energy audits will be used.

  2. Marie says:

    There are many solid points made in this article and in the comments, but as far as I’m concerned, the bottom line is that Kathleen Wynne and her merry band of bandits have yet to create any sort of program that adds value to the lives of Ontarians.

    Every new “initiative” presented by this government simply adds more layers of costly bureaucracy and removes a few more dollars from the taxpayers’ wallets.

    I can’t wait until 2018.

    1. Boris says:

      Marie gets it.

      Many of you don’t. Hence we have this dishonest pandering dunce as a Premier.

      People, smarten the f___ up!!

  3. ML says:

    I tried to have an energy audit done of my house prior to renovating it to benefit from rebates for making my house more efficient. Unfortunately I found out that the energy audit people in Toronto can’t do them on houses that have rounded front doors because they need a rectangular door opening to mount their testing equipment. Sliding doors and windows are also not sufficient. So because the test couldn’t be physically run on our house, we didn’t qualify for any rebates, even though we ended up replacing all the windows, doors, and insulation. Making a test mandatory that can not be performed on some houses is clearly a problem.

  4. Kyle says:

    I’m all for more information, but more information without context or scale misleads more than it informs. Like those that pay huge premiums for hybrids, when they see the low MPG, but never see a payback in terms of savings.

    From my experience i believe a home inspection (especially if you are present when it is being done) is far more informative, predictive of future costs and useful than an energy audit. IMO, it makes more sense to mandate home inspections than it does energy audits.

    1. jeff316 says:

      “IMO, it makes more sense to mandate home inspections than it does energy audits.”

      This is the kind of thing that really scares the industry.

      1. Kyle says:

        LOL, i agree for some Realtors and sellers that would be a nightmare scenario. That said many top Realtors pay out of their own pocket to have a home inspection on hand for when a listing hits the market. It short circuits people from adding inspection conditions, or tying up the viewing schedule to conduct their own inspections, etc.

        1. jeff316 says:

          Absolutely. Sophisticated agents get the value of these tools in making their buyers feel more secure and informed. The professional/industry associations, however, see anything that can potentially disrupt or derail a sale (and therefore commission) as a negative. I’d imagine there is a big gap between industry association messaging and on-the-ground agent feelings.

          1. Kyle says:

            Totally agree, i think Energy Audits (EAs) should be treated the exact same way. Savvy Agents and Sellers could get one done and use it as marketing, if they got an outstanding rating or buyers should be able to book their own EA, the same way they could have their own inspection done, if they feel the information is so valuable. I see no need to make EAs mandatory nor do i see any reason for the seller to pay for the EA.

          2. Kyle says:

            And sorry just to add one more point, a car purchaser can’t book or pay for their own mileage testing before buying, but there is nothing stopping a buyer from EA info themselves if they so deigned.

  5. This is all very interesting.

    It seems the overwhelming consensus is simply “more information is a good thing.”

    Consumers want more information, plain and simple.

    How they get the information, who oversees the process, how it’s all handled – this is of less concern to the consumer.

    1. Boris says:

      When you compare the marginal value add to the consumer of an ‘accurate’ energy rating – which is something that is unlikely to arise from this program for many reasons mentioned above – it pales in comparison to the other vagaries of the real estate market that can dramatically affect either the value proposition of buying a home (price, quality, happiness of decision). Including:

      – market volatility/timing (entry point). Far and away the most important variable
      – specific property – bidding war outcome. Sub variables include price range, location, seasonality etc. I would include the vagaries of the rez real estate auction process, lack of transparency etc as part of this process.
      – interest rates and financing
      – amenability of the property to capex – from both an economic and happiness perspective.
      – economic/social development of specific and general area. Transit, infrastructure, crime etc.
      – other taxes – current and future – land transfer, municipal.

      Keep in mind these are big picture items. Don’t tell me that rates are low so point 3 doesn’t matter. This is a new phenomenon and has impacted buy/sell decisions.

      So in the best case scenario, this initiative will add a data point that is far, far down the list in terms of items affecting the outcomes of consumers, while adding a new level of red tape and cost. In a more likely scenario, for a lot of reasons, even this data won;t be useful because it is designed to tick the box of a politicized vanity project led by agenda driven government instead of being executed with the best actual outcomes in mind.

    2. Mike says:

      Irony: more information in the consumers hand means less control over the consumer. Stock use to trade at 3% commission or $100 a trade, now you can trade stocks for less than $10. You can see why the dissemination of information has real estate professionals worried.

  6. John says:

    As a buyer I’m all for it. And really how is that different than having gas usage on cars, power consumption on utilities and light bulbs, calories on food? More information we have, the better buying decisions we will make.

    Also, realtor estate industry enjoys largest support of the government, and realtors are profiting from it. This rating will help consumers. And for the lack of regulation of auditors? Aren’t realtors regulate themselves? Doesn’t it create a conflict of interest as well? Same with the auditors, market will sort that out.

    To Kyle’s point, I think having rating is still better than nothing, even though it is not perfect. Take cars’ gas consumption rating, they test cars under ideal conditions, but still more or less it is reliable for consumers.

    There are some technicalities that need to be worked out with the audit, but it is a good start.

  7. Oren says:

    This is just another example of bureaucracy from the crooked provincial liberals.

    How long do you think it’ll take for them to start employing the auditors, or awarding hte contract to one of their friends?

    Create more public sector jobs. That’s the mandate!!!

    1. jeff316 says:

      This proposal actually will create more private sector jobs. Not government ones.

      1. Boris says:

        Corporatism to the rescue!!!

        That’s been working well. I guess you are happy to spend your hard earned dollars for government bailouts of Bombardier then.

        1. jeff316 says:

          I’m sorry, I don’t understand your comment or its relevance to the comments above.

          1. Boris says:

            Public sector initiatives ‘creating’ private sector activity = one form of corporatism. Your rebuttal to the fact that these are creating public sector jobs. Which I am sure it would – “we need a department now to monitor this intitiative”. Corporatism = bank bailouts, TARP, GM bailout, Air Canada bailouts, Bombardier bailouts, massive red tape for small business owners to hurdle (but it creates jobs for lawyers and inspectors, engineers etc right?).

            You don’t see the negative consequences to the economy of central planning under this guise?

          2. jeff316 says:

            My apologies. I thought you were making a point and not an ideological position that has no relevant to this specific thread in the discussion. Rant away friend!

          3. Boris says:

            jeff – sometimes you just have to admit you are too stupid to understand your own point.

            Unfortunately there isn’t a class I can recommend for you that teaches basic logic. You could always try drugs I guess.

          4. Libertarian says:

            An example of what he’s talking about – Wynne gives $85 million to Chrysler

            http://toronto.ctvnews.ca/85-million-for-chrysler-expansion-in-windsor-not-corporate-welfare-wynne-says-1.2946672

          5. jeff316 says:

            Yes Libertarian. But that’s not going on here with this energy rating policy. They’re not related. The original post in this subthread suggested this would result in public sector jobs. It won’t. That’s just fact, neither good nor bad.

  8. Kyle says:

    As a buyer the information that is relevant is how much will it cost to heat and cool a prospective house. This is very easy to get by simply asking for the seller’s utility bills. An energy audit will not tell you how much it will cost you to heat/cool a prospective house, it will simply give you some kind of rating without much $ context.

    1. John says:

      Rating would be better than examining utility bills, as utility bills will fluctuate with individual preferences, usage, family size living there. Have friends who love to wear shorts in winter, obviously they will spend more on heating. Or house whose owners spends a lot of time travelling, doesn’t need much heating. Also, if you are a seller planning to sell you can reduce consumption for half a year to pretend house is appearing more efficient than it really is for potential buyers.

      You can’t fake triple glass windows, or lack of leaks, so I’m for rating.

      1. jeff316 says:

        I don’t have a problem with the rating being on there, but your rationale makes no sense at all. The rating is full of open variables that affect how it is interpreted by the buyer.

        The rating is an estimate, is based on theory, plus industry-submitted efficiency data (that may or may not be real-world accurate), that doesn’t reflect personal energy use preferences or local dynamics.

        Utility bills are hard data. The only variable in the utility bill is your personal use preferences.

  9. Jeremy says:

    I would absolutely like to have this information as a buyer. It is no different from buying a car and knowing that Model X costs 10% more than Model Y, but gets better gas mileage and typically has lower maintenance costs?

    I do find it interesting though that the logical conclusion of your/OREAs arguments re: government intervention etc. is that the government should stop keeping the cost of energy in Ontario artificially low. The capitalist free market would then “force” people to take these increased costs more seriously.

  10. Pete says:

    Wow David, did you bristle in horror that cars were mandated to have seat belts? What about drive clean tests? Do you absolutely hate that there is a building code mandating safe construction practices? People who whine about government regulations are usually just whining about things they don’t agree with. But if a regulation benefits you, then of course it’s ok.

  11. Marina says:

    In general, I have no issue with disclosure – the government is not prohibiting properties from being sold. They are simply enforcing disclosure.

    However, there are three problems:

    1) an energy rating of a single digit doesn’t convey the right information. Is it because of insulation? The type of heating? Windows? Building materials? How much would it cost to rectify? A walk score is calculated in a pretty transparent way AND I can verify it pretty simply by looking at a map. Here I have to trust blindly some low-level flunkie that may or may not know what they are doing

    2) The lack of regulation of auditors is VERY troubling. It’s ripe for corruption.

    3) Given that generally businesses consume much more energy than residential households, why are we exempting the biggest culprits?

  12. jeff316 says:

    This is about data collection – not shifting consumer behaviour. For buyers, this is useless for probably 60 percent of sales. It will not affect buyer behaviour. In many cases buyers will not be able to do much to improve their home’s energy ratings. Even if they could take useful action to reduce their energy footprint, an energy rating and prospective minor energy savings are not going to influence consumer behaviour in a near half-million dollar transaction.

    But, at heart, this is not a harmful requirement. The real estate industry is shooting itself in the foot if they complain about it. Sometimes it comes off as mature to accept and work with things that run counter to your interests. The industry, again, lacks this maturity.

    I think the industry is not so much annoyed by the audits, but scared that if the government can mandate disclosure of information like this, much much more is on the way.

    1. Mandy says:

      Agreed about the RE industry and their maturity. But as much as I want access to information, I understand they they invented, built, trademarked, and own the MLS. I don’t like the idea of the government telling them what to do with it because it sets a bad precedent.

      1. jeff316 says:

        This reads like industry messaging. What’s the bad precedent? There is none.

      2. Joel says:

        But it is a monopoly and governments to have a right and need to step in when there is a monopoly.

  13. Kyle says:

    In my opinion energy audits have little benefit for the environment, home owners, home buyers or home sellers. They amount to little more than a forced wealth transfer from home owners to these newly created Energy Auditors.

    Has anyone ever had an energy audit done? It’s a fat big wank and the results are dubious at best. Basically it is nothing more than a guy (who most likely was unemployed the week before) carrying a tarp with a fan stuck in the middle and a checklist. At the end your house gets a rating, with very little context or anything translatable into dollar cost/benefit. Also the models used to audit a house have little validity in the real world. Audits mostly measure how leaky your house is, not how efficient it is. Air transfer is not the same thing as heat transfer, if it were than rain slickers would be warmer than wool coats. Nor does it consider the exposure to the sun or wind. Nor does it consider the amount of exterior wall surface relative to the size of the house. A leaky 2000 sq ft row house would get the same rating as a 2000 sq ft detached, even though only 2 walls are exposed to the elements vs 4.

    If the point is to force people to do something in order to help the environment, then make programmable or smart thermostats mandatory. That WILL reduce emissions and save people money. Energy audits *may* lead to someone deciding to do something that might reduce emissions and will cost people money.

    1. Joe Q. says:

      I have to agree with Kyle here. The energy audits can provide some useful information, but IMO energy usage issues related to “air leaks” are probably a drop in the bucket compared to wasteful personal habits (leaving lights on, extreme thermostat settings, etc.)

      1. jeff316 says:

        Agreed. This is just a way for the government to get a sense of the energy ratings for existing housing stock one sale at a time.

    2. Boris says:

      A great example however of a (maybe) well intentioned idea on the conservationism side which had disastrous execution and dubious results is the smart meter fiasco.

  14. Michael says:

    Coming from France, where this has been mandatory for years, I can say no one is complaining about it there (and French people love to complain!).

    I think you’re missing a critical part: what about the extra information for the buyer? I mean, I’d love to know if a house I might buy will cost me a lot of money in heating. Wouldn’t you?

    I know you hate government intervention in North America. However, on issues like Climate Change, just letting citizens do their own thing has not yielded much results so far. I think it’s time that governments start pushing people to do the right thing.

    1. RPG says:

      “Do the right thing.”

      So now we’re into that political debate David warned us about.

      Why doesn’t the government ban salt since it’s bad for you.

      Why don’t they mandate that every citizen must attend church on Sunday’s, because that’s what moral, upstanding people do?

      We could go at this all day long. But Canada is responsible for less than 2% of GHG around the world, so how much of an impact can we make? Or are we just the trailblazer for China and the U.S.A. to follow suit?

      Any time somebody expresses “smaller government” views, they’re branded some sort of crazy Liberterian like in the U.S.A., but David has a point here. This is just another example of the provincial government picking and choosing, the flavor of the week, in what’s best for us. And five years from now, we’ll hear about a $2B energy audit scandal, after we recover deleted hard drives.

    2. Boris says:

      Great example. A disastrous centrally planned, socialist economy, with a 23% youth unemployment rate, a socio economic powderkeg to boot.

      I would contend that doing the opposite of France from an economic policy perspective would lead to much more optimal outcomes than most other policy paths.

      Because government forcing compliance based on ‘models’ that have been proved wrong over decades is the a good thing? Government gets so much else right, don’t they?

    3. Singidunum says:

      I agree completely. We were given chance to do something about it on individual basis, but we didn’t. Somebody needs to step in.

  15. Ralph Cramdown says:

    Rather than go through a long rebuttal of how ridiculous some of OREA’s arguments are, I’ll point out that Walk Scores are also covered by OREA’s 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, and 10. Why don’t realtors care that low walk scores STIGMATIZE some homes? The horror!

    I think this is a good idea. The fact is that poor design, construction or maintenance causes some homes to be massively less energy efficient than others similar in appearance. If this program causes those homeowners to fix their problems, saving money, energy and the environment, that would be a Good Thing. There’s other ways to do it: A big data program combining MPAC home attributes with utility company energy billings could discover the homes wasting the most energy, as could a drone with an infrared camera. Many homeowners are too stupid — or shall we say uninformed — to know that their homes are using far more energy than they could, and fixing this benefits us all.

  16. Frances says:

    Trouble with that requirement for my house is that, when it is sold, it will be a tear-down. An energy audit would be a waste of time and money. And I already know that it isn’t very energy efficient, known that for years. It’s just not worth the money to do anything about it because we probably won’t be here very much longer.

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