Friday, October 31, 2008

Home Energy Efficiency Report 2008

Susan Combs, the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, has published (October 1, 2008) the Home Energy Efficiency Report 2008 through The State of Texas State Energy Conservation Office.

The report gives consumers practical information that can be used to “rate home energy use and assess the potential for energy efficiency gains and reductions in home operating costs.”

A summary of findings includes:
  • Two home energy rating systems are considered viable for rapid, low-cost implementation: The Home Energy Rating System from the national Residential Energy Services Network, and Texas A&M University Energy Systems Laboratory’s proposed home energy evaluation system.
  • New residential construction in Texas already requires inspection prior to sale to ensure compliance to the energy code.
  • Requiring mandatory home energy ratings on the state’s 8.1 million occupied housing units would be difficult to implement.
  • Under a voluntary energy rating system, market forces can drive participation.
  • Incentives for voluntary residential energy ratings may range from market pressure to tax incentives.
  • Dedicated energy efficiency fields in the Multiple Listing Service are not well received or widely used; however, a voluntary comment field could be added for past utility bills or energy ratings.
  • Though Energy Efficiency Mortgages (EEM) have lost favor in the past several years, increased consumer awareness of EEMs can play a valuable role in encouraging home energy efficiency.
  • The key to a concerted effort for energy efficiency lies with consumer education and the ability to provide consumers with relevant and accurate information. The power to save is then in the hands of the consumer.
  • Introducing energy rating information into the marketplace should increase the average energy efficiency of residential real property.
The full report can be downloaded at www.seco.cpa.state.tx.us/heeHB3070.pdf