Energy Audit of Buildings Before Selling

Energy Audit of Buildings Before Selling

How much will it cost to cool or heat this house? A question that buyers often ask and the answer influences the property value and buyer's decision. The rapid climate change and real estate contribution led the government to push for green homes. Officials from the Department of Natural Resources are working on a plan to make energy-performance analyses of residential properties mandatory before the sale. The energy-efficiency rating of a house would be in the listing. Better energy-performance scores link to higher property values. The government's objective behind this policy of time-of-sale labelling is to reach net-zero emissions from buildings by 2050. The Natural Resources ministry mandated the inclusion of efficiency labelling under the federal EnerGuide rating system.  

There are different opinions over this matter; while some side with the energy audit before the sale, others point out the issues with this approach. This article outlines details of the government's push for green homes and the response of stakeholders.  

The Ultimate Goal is to Green the Buildings Sector

Green buildings use less water, energy, and natural resources; thus, reducing negative environmental impacts. Additionally, they contribute positively to the environment in many ways, such as by generating their energy or enhancing biodiversity. Nearly 13% of the country's greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings. The goal is to reduce emissions and improve the environment. Labelling the listing will help buyers understand the energy costs they will face. Energy and energy usage literacy will improve as a result of labelling. It also gives homeowners a reason to improve their energy efficiency to sell their houses.

In the real estate sector, the common opinion is that mandating labelling when housing affordability is already in crisis can further damage sales. The vice-president of public affairs and communications for the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) pointed out that we have significant slumps in inventory listings on the market at present. Another piece of regulation on a home seller will dampen listings all the more, making finding a home difficult.  

Possible Hurdles in the Way of Energy Audit Before House Selling

Different hurdles prevented the idea from taking solid form in Ontario. As part of the 2009 Green Energy Act, the Liberal government planned to include the energy audit in the listing but did not follow through. The Ontario Home Builders' Association (OHBA) called labelling the energy audit a good move. Whereas; the real estate association started a campaign against it. Saying that according to the regulations, the sale procedure would be complicated, and low-income households who couldn't afford retrofits would be penalized. Realtors were also concerned that the audits' quality and findings differ dramatically from one consultant/adviser to the next. In an e-mail, spokesperson Pierre Leduc stated that the organization supports efforts to enhance the energy efficiency, but not at the expense of housing availability. Canada is experiencing a historic housing supply crisis. We must take measures to ensure that alongside climate change obligations, we fulfil housing market demands.  

Resources Needed to Make Green Homes Campaign Successful

Mandatory labelling calls for the availability of plenty of energy advisers to consult home sellers. In this situation, when the number of energy advisers falls short, it is impossible to have an energy audit before the sale and will further shrink the already shrinking house selling market. As evidenced by the Greener Homes program's implementation challenges, homeowners are already irritated by the shortage of authorized consultants. Additional resources are to be made available before binding the homeowners to follow labelling. Crucial measures are taken in this aspect by the government. Before the program began, the government announced that it would invest $10 million in recruiting and training 2,000 nationally licensed energy experts. Most of the 1,250 advisers are based in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia. There are less than 15 serving the jurisdiction in numerous provinces and territories. If given enough time, the Canadian Association of Consulting Energy Advisors believes the energy-auditing business will be able to meet the need for obligatory time-of-sale labelling. 

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