Sunday, August 1, 2010

Austin Homebuyers Ignore Energy Audit Findings of Older Homes

The Austin American Statesman published Shonda Novak's July 16, 2010 article titled, "Impact of Home Energy Audit Rule Less Than Expected"

The Austin City Council Energy Conservation Audit and Disclosure Ordinance has been in effect for one year, and Shonda's article was published to gage how well the central-planners at Austin City Council have done.

As an Austin homeowner, I was pleased with the results!

"Fears about effects on sales appear overblown" claims Shonda Novak, the article's writer. That's because the audit is a mandate on the homeseller. If a homeowner is worried about selling their private property, they won't have the time or energy to fight the audit. This sneaky provision was endorsed by the Austin Board of REALTORS.

The busy-body central planners at Austin City Council, with the cooperation of their personal utility monopoly, Austin Energy, told us these audits were meant to educate buyers about the energy efficiency of homes older than 10 year old trapped in the Austin Energy service area.

The article continues: "In 96 percent of the 4,862 audits conducted, the energy auditors recommended at least one improvement. However, only 520 homebuyers or sellers followed through on any of the recommendations."

Stated another way, 96% of the 4,862 audits conducted means 4667 homes needed at least one improvement. However, only 520 homebuyers or sellers, or 11% made the improvement.

So, 89% ignored the audit findings and enjoyed their private property.

"When buying a car, "we'd be aghast if there wasn't a window sticker saying how it performs as far as fuel economy," said Kristof Irwin, co-owner of Blue Heron Builders, an Austin-based green builder of custom homes, and Positive Energy, an energy audit firm. Because homes use a significant amount of energy, it's all the more important for an owner or buyer to know about its efficiency, he said."

Well an energy audit doesn't tell you what the "miles per gallon" of a home is. For example, how much electricity should the average 1500 square foot Austin home use in June? In June 2010, I purchased 1,031 Kilowatt hours of electricity for $103 from Austin Energy. And my home was built in 1982.

"There is a gold mine of energy savings in older homes," said Karl Rábago Vice president at Austin Energy, who oversees administration of the new ordinance.

Shonda continues, "The Energy Conservation Audit and Disclosure ordinance applies to homes older than 10 years, with some exceptions, including homes that have had energy improvements within the past 10 years."

So if you own a home that's less than 10 years old, use all the electricity you want. No sanctimonious eco-nannies will harrass you!

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