Builders may be required to provide energy scores with new purchases
February 17, 2015
New home purchases may start including the disclosure of the home’s energy efficiency score, somewhat like a car’s fuel economy label, if a bill can successfully pass through the Utah Legislature.
According to HB 169, sponsored by Rep. Kraig Powell, a Republican from Heber City whose district includes Park City, before a builder sells a new residential home, the builder must disclose the home’s energy efficiency score and other related information to the prospective buyer.
"It provides, to buyers of homes, the ability to receive the testing results of the home energy rating score so they can make an informed decision," Powell said. "I characterize it as a miles-per-gallon sticker so that a buyer will know that this rating has been performed and they can essentially know how much their utility bill would be."
The bill would require builders to make a home energy efficiency score information pamphlet available at the time of purchase.
"We’re not saying they have to follow any standards," Powell said. "The builder would just be required to provide this score to home buyers before the time of sale."
Powell said he’s received positive responses from the home builders with whom he has spoken.
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"A lot of the home builders are very positive because they want to use this technology and they want to hold their competitors to a higher standard," he said. "I’ve heard from a lot of home builders who are in favor of this."
Lisa Yoder, the Summit County sustainability coordinator, said Powell is "on the right track."
"I think people are becoming more aware and are definitely more interested in utility bills than ever before," Yoder said. "I think it is good to get it into the legislature and beat up on it so they can look at the sticking points.
"It’s always good to get it into discussion and I applaud Kraig Powell for taking it on and getting it onto the table. It might not pass this year, but it gets a dialogue going and gives us a place to work from," Yoder added.
Pete Gillwald, a Park City architect, said the bill’s requirements "seem like a reasonable idea." But he expressed concern about the added costs the energy audit could add to the price of the home.
"That just means adding more costs to the house," Gillwald said. "I always worry about getting pounded with fees and now we are going to have to tack more money to the cost of the house. It’s just one more level of bureaucracy."
Bruce Taylor, also a Park City architect, laughed when asked about the bill.
"I think it’s b*** s***," Taylor said. "I think the government has gone too far and there are already enough standards in place."
During the purchasing process, homeowners can access the construction documents and building plans, Taylor said, adding that the information should be enough.
"I don’t see what that extra step is doing," Taylor said. "For older homes that could certainly be investigated an astute home buyer might ask for utilities from the previous 10 to 20 months. But I still don’t think the government should require that. If people are astute enough to ask those questions, the information is already available."
The bill is in the Utah House of Representatives Rules Committee. It will likely be sent to the House of Natural Resources Committee within the next 10 days.
To track this bill, go to http://le.utah.gov/~2015/bills/static/HB0169.html.