Mizz-OU-Rah!! Gears Up!!

|

Being a Mizzou Alum and a "Show Me" kinda of guy, I really liked this news from my home state.




Missouri Turning to Private Contractors for Home Energy Audits
2009 tax deductions likely to spur increased demand
December 2008

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources sponsors the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program, which makes certified home energy audits available to homeowners.
Missouri is gearing up for an increasing demand for home energy audits by authorizing private, certified contractors to perform the assessments. Through the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® program, homeowners can request a home audit, or performance analysis, which will provide a series of recommendations for increasing energy efficiency.
Fluctuating energy prices in the last year have increased general awareness of the need to curb usage. In addition, new Missouri legislation that goes into effect in 2009 provides a tax deduction for home energy audits and the cost of implementing recommendations, provided that the procedures are done by individuals certified by the state's Department of Natural Resources. The department's Energy Office is administering the auditor certification effort, as well as the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program.
In the Kansas City area, the home audits are overseen by the Metropolitan Energy Center. A story in the October 5 edition of the Kansas City Star ("Area Program Aims to Cut Home Energy Use") reported that home energy audits generally cost between $300 and $500. A rebate of up to $600 is being offered by Kansas City Power and Light to its Missouri customers who take advantage of the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR audit and implement at least one of the recommendations to improve efficiency.
For homeowners considering a home audit, the Department of Natural Resources provides a list of certified energy auditors (also called "building analysts"). It is up to homeowners to select an auditor, to determine whether to make recommended improvements, and to choose a supplier to perform whatever work is done.

Oregon Governor Seeks Mandatory Efficiency Audits for Home Sales

|



Oregon's Governor proposes a Mandatory Efficiency Audit for ALL Home Sales!


All homes and commercial properties being sold in Oregon would be required to have an energy efficiency score under a new proposal.
Potential home sellers determined to ride out the sputtering housing market would do well to invest in efficiency upgrades while they wait — particularly if a new real estate mandate under consideration on the West Coast is a sign of what’s to come.
Oregon’s governor, Ted Kulongoski, wants to require any owner selling or renting a home or commercial building in the state to obtain a certificate disclosing the property’s energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. The mandate, part of his climate change agenda for 2009, would take effect in 2011 for new and existing homes and in 2012 for commercial buildings.
“With escalating energy prices, a homeowner or small business person has a right to know the energy performance of a home or building they invest in,” reads a draft of the bill provided by the governor’s office. Mr. Kulongoski said he plans to submit it to the Oregon legislature in January.
The certificates could prove both a selling point for owners of energy-efficient buildings and a boon to homebuyers by providing a basis for lower mortgage and insurance rates tied to efficiency.
But they could also become an encumbrance to owners trying to sell old or drafty homes, for whom a low rating could look like a defect.
The bill is likely to face some resistance from the Oregon Home Builders Association and the Oregon Realtors Association. The industry lobbies generally support a voluntary program, but are opposed to a state mandate.
Gov. Ted Kulongoski says every Oregon home buyer has the right to know the energy efficiency of a prospective purchase. (Photo: Bloomberg)
Jon Chandler, chief executive of the Oregon Homebuilders Association called mandatory certificates “silly.”
“It’s an educational tool,” Mr. Chandler said. “It doesn’t do anything for energy efficiency one way or another.” Nonetheless, he added, “We’re gearing up for the mandate. We’d like to position ourselves to do the contracting work.”
The proposed bill directs the Oregon Department of Energy to design a home energy rating system, similar to the miles-per-gallon rating on cars.
The basis for such a system might well come from Earth Advantage, a nonprofit sustainable building organization based in Portland. That group has already developed a national certification program for new construction, and it has been working on an efficiency rating program modeled after one in Great Britain, which began requiring certificates for all residential real estate transactions nationwide on Oct. 1.
The Energy Trust of Oregon, an independent nonprofit group created by the Oregon Public Utility Commission and charged with “encouraging energy market transformation” in the state, according to its Web site, is using the Earth Advantage rating system in a pilot project involving 200 Portland homes. The aim is to find the fastest and cheapest way of performing energy audits and issuing certificates for homeowners.
Testing ends this month and the Energy Trust says it will report the results early next year.
“Hopefully this program will serve as a model for the state and the country,” said Kendall Youngblood, a residential sector manager for the Energy Trust. “We’re designing it as an education piece for the homeowner, so they start to understand homes are associated with carbon emissions.”
Other states, including California and Minnesota already have similar voluntary certification programs that use the U.S. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency Home Energy Rating System. Homes are scored between 0 and 100 on an index relative to a model Energy Star home.
The Earth Advantage program would go a few steps further, providing bars that depict a home’s actual energy use, utility costs and carbon dioxide emissions.