Later this month, the Berkeley City Council is slated to approve a new law — designed to increase building sustainability and reduce greenhouse gas emissions — that will mandate new fees and recurring energy assessments for local property owners.
>” […] The law would require payment of a $79-$240 filing fee, depending on building size, by property owners every 5-10 years. On top of that, property owners will be required to undergo building energy assessments on the same cycle, conducted by registered contractors, to the tune of an estimated $200 for a single-family home and up to $10,000 for large commercial buildings.
The goal of the new law, according to the city, is to make “building energy use information more transparent to owners and prospective renters or buyers,” and ultimately inspire more investment in energy upgrades. The law would replace existing minimum energy and water efficiency measures in Berkeley. The proposed ordinance would not require that upgrades are actually done, but will compile energy scores and summaries for city properties, and make them readily available online.
Explained city sustainability coordinator Billi Romain, “Rather than require a list of specific measures, it requires an evaluation of a building’s efficiency opportunities and identifies all available incentives and financing programs.”
Romain said the hope is that, by giving people a “road map” for potential improvements, they will be more likely to schedule them to fit in with other home projects, such as seismic work. In addition to cutting down on local greenhouse gas emissions, the new ordinance has several other goals, from reducing utility costs that cause local dollars to “leak out” of Berkeley, to creating a more comfortable, durable building stock, as well as fortifying the local “green” workforce. […]
According to a city Energy Commission report on the ordinance, the assessments would take place on a five-year cycle for large buildings and every 8-10 years, or upon sale, for medium-sized and small buildings. Some of the costs may be offset by rebates and other incentives, and the program is set to include temporary “hardship deferrals” for those with financial constraints, and exemptions for high-efficiency buildings (see page 14). […]”<
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Mandated audits are a very bad idea. “The proposed ordinance would not require that upgrades are actually done.” They should find a solution that aligns with building owners’ needs, and will be more likely to deliver results.
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An energy audit is a good thing. The opportunity to provide the solutions you discuss would be up to the contractor doing the audit. This would also enable higher transparency in disclosure as to a buildings condition. It may require refinement, however I see this as steps in the right direction. Thanks for your input Rick.
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