HR 2454/2998 Important Energy Bill affecting owners/builders

a.curvinJuly 7, 2009

okay, yes I am a realtor and I know that discredits me intstantly to some. But this is important information all builders and property owners need to be aware of:

Houses Passes Climate Bill with Energy Labeling Exemption

The U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 2454, the

American Clean Energy and Security Act by Reps. Waxman (D-CA)and Markey (D-MA). The bill, re-numbered H.R. 2998, includes NAR-supported provisions which were championed by Rep. Perlmutter (D-CO) that exempt existing homes and buildings from the bill's energy labeling program.

After multiple meetings to discuss the Waxman-Markey bill, the NAR Land Use, Property Rights and Environment Committee directed NAR staff to concentrate on the real estate provisions in the bill. As a result, NAR issued calls for action and made this a talking point for Capitol Hill visits during its recent Midyear meeting. Overall, Realtors succeeded in making a number of positive changes to the bill. Thanks to Realtors, the House-approved bill:

-Limits the energy labeling provisions to new construction only;

-Prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating

carbon emissions from residential and commercial buildings under

the Clean Air Act;

-Eliminates an early proposal to bolster a private right of

action so that citizens could sue over minor climate risks under the Clean Air Act; that proposal is no longer in the bill as passed by the House;

-Provides property owners with significant financial incentives, matching grants and the tools to make property improvements and reduce their energy bills; and

-Establishes a multitude of green building incentives for HUD housing, including a loan program for renewable energy, block grants and credit for upgrades in mortgage underwriting.

While H.R. 2998 includes many positive changes, NAR will have additional opportunities to make further changes to address unresolved issues, such as the bill's building energy code targets. The Senate must still pass its version of an energy/climate bill. There would be a House-Senate conference to reconcile differences between the House and Senate bills. The timing for a vote in the Senate is not clear as the Environment and Public Works Committee still must develop the climate provisions to "cap and trade" carbon emissions. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has approved the energy provisions (to which climate provisions would be coupled), which include building energy standards that are more realistic and

preserve state flexibility to develop and enforce building

codes. While the bill as approved by the House represents a

significant improvement over the bill that was introduced, NAR will continue to work to address these issues as the legislative process continues.

Here is a link to a document that NAR put together on the topic entitled "Myths and Facts: Home energy labeling":

(you may have to copy and paste your browser:)

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No gripes about Realtors from me.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 4:43AM
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As a home buyer, I'd love to see an energy audit as a required part of the sale. Seems like it would be good for me, and good for the whole carbon emissions picture.


    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 11:44AM
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Required, no. An optional inspection, yes. In our state, a buyer can conduct any and all inspections s/he wishes. To make it the audit an requirement would inevitably lead to making the upgrades a requirement. This could prevent a very large majority of homeowners from being able to sell their house. I, for instance, would not have the funds available to upgrade my 1952 house at this time in order to be able to resale. And what about retirees, folks moving to assisted living, heirs, people that have lost substantial value due to market climate. All of these people could potentially be stuck with property they can't sell. Which leads to abandoned and foreclosed properties. Banks do not put any money into fixing up a house.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 5:05PM
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I think most retired people would like to move into an efficient home given that they are going to be paying the heating bills, which just go up and up.

Making homes more thermally efficient is a no-brainer -- it saves money on heating bills and reduces carbon emissions. If a mandatory program was put in place (which I would like to see), it could be set up so that the savings in fuel bills more than offset the cost of the extra money that would have to be borrowed for the improvements -- this is a win for everyone, and should improve homes sales, not reduce them -- I think you guys need to take a longer and wider view rather than fight everything that might cost you a little bit of short range adapting. Isn't a housing stock that people can afford to heat going to make for more qualified home owners and more sales?

I'm a retired person, and its important to me that we get moving on doing something meaningful on carbon reduction for my grandkids.


    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 9:09PM
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I have to line up on the 'only required on new housing' side of the argument. As people became aware of the difference, it would help new home sales and sellers of existing housing stock could make up their own minds as to whether upgrading would help their sale. A good analogy would be r-12 to r-134 replacement. I remember that originally there was talk of immediate banning of r-12 but the adoption of 'new sales only' provided an orderly transition while minimizing the impact on those who couldn't afford to change all at once.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 5:28AM
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