Bill may force home energy audits

(WWLP) SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The American Clean Energy and Security Act is aimed at reducing the nation’s energy consumption. The ambitious piece of legislation passed in the House on Friday. It addresses a variety of issues from carbon emissions to planting trees.

The energy bill also proposes a change in how homes are sold. Originally, it called for all “for-sale” homes, old or new, to go through a mandatory energy audit. Subsequently, homeowners would receive a type of “energy performance grade”.

The same way consumers use the nutrition label on a box of cereal, potential home buyers could view the grade like a rundown of energy efficiency.

Opposition to the energy audits arose from homeowners and realtors. Their concerns were centered on a struggling housing market and the problems an “energy performance grade” could created for homeowners already struggling to make a sale.

Brian Sears, of Sears Real Estate in Springfield told 22News on Wednesday, “If it comes in and it’s not a ‘good’ energy score… It affects the home sellers, the home buyers, it stops the process.”

Lawyer Laura Marino, from the Law Offices of Laura M. Marino in Springfield, gave 22News her thoughts on the energy bill on Wednesday. “If they want to do [energy audits] to newer construction, go ahead and do it. They’re probably going to all rank pretty high because they’re new. The older homes… The homes that are one hundred, two hundred years old… How are they every going to catch up?”

She added, “It’s basically going to stigmatize older homes in New England. Which, again, they’re never going to be at the energy efficiency level as new construction.”

Sears shed some light changes that may benefit owners of those older homes,” Changes that were made [to the bill] were significant. To make it from requiring every home sale requiring an energy audit to only requiring it on new construction.”

The American Clean Energy and Security Act will go to the Senate for consideration.

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