En­ergy la­bel­ing mo­tion passed

Ot­tawa-Or­léans MPP wants to pro­tect prop­erty buy­ers

Orleans Star - - LOCAL NEWS - Cather­ine Kitts Cather­ine.kitts@tc.tc Twit­ter @catkitts

Ot­tawa-Or­léans MPP Phil McNeely in­tro­duced a pri­vate mem­ber’s mo­tion to have Sec­tion 3 of the Green En­ergy Act, with re­gards to en­ergy la­bel­ing, pro­claimed. The mo­tion was de­bated and passed on Oct. 3.

This mo­tion is meant to pro­tect prop­erty buy­ers from high home en­ergy costs be­cause of the low ef­fi­ciency of the home or busi­ness they have pur­chased. This would be achieved though full dis­clo­sure at the time of sale.

"I be­lieve (this mo­tion) is crit­i­cal for con­sumer pro­tec­tion and fur­ther de­vel­op­ing a cul­ture of con­ser­va­tion," said McNeely.

Ear­lier this year, the Min­istry of En­ergy re­leased a pol­icy pa­per ti­tled Con­ser­va­tion First. This doc­u­ment lays out On­tario’s re­newed vi­sion for con­ser­va­tion and ref­er­ences im­prov­ing dis­clo­sure of en­ergy per­for­mance of prop­er­ties, and men­tions a la­bel­ing sys­tem as a pos­si­ble tool.

Sev­eral US states and cities have adopted var­i­ous types of home en­ergy ef­fi­ciency dis­clo­sure poli­cies. In 2009, Austin, Texas en­acted the first au­dit-based dis­clo­sure pol­icy in the US for both the res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial sec­tor. In 2009, the State of Ore­gon also leg­is­lated to adopt a manda­tory home rat­ing sys­tem. Some re­gions have opted to only man­date dis­clo­sure at time of sale for new homes. For ex­am­ple, Kansas and South Dakota re­quire en­ergy ef­fi­ciency dis­clo­sure forms and Santa Fe, New Mex­ico re­quires a con­firmed Home En­ergy Rat­ing Sys­tem (HERS) in­dex be posted. Wash­ing­ton D.C. and Berke­ley, Cal­i­for­nia also re­quire en­ergy la­bel­ing at time of sale.

In Canada, the Calgary Real Es­tate board has pi­loted a pro­gram to in­cor­po­rate en­ergy la­bels in the Mul­ti­ple List­ing Ser­vice, since 2010. Vic­to­ria, BC is also in­volved in pi­lot projects to in­clude en­ergy la­bels in the list­ing of homes for sale.

"I want to com­mend the mem­ber from Ot­tawa–Or­léans for his con­tin­u­ing ad­vo­cacy on in­creas­ing con­sumer ed­u­ca­tion and im­proved en­ergy ef­fi­ciency pro­grams," said Linda Jef­frey, Min­is­ter of Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs and Hous­ing. "I think this is some­thing that is wor­thy of con­ver­sa­tion, and I’m happy to sup­port it."

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the On­tario Real Es­tate in­dus­try also say they are aware of the the im­por­tance of dis­clo­sure and con­sumer pro­tec­tion. "Sim­ply put, con­sumers and the real es­tate in­dus­try need this leg­is­la­tion to sup­port con­sumer pro­tec­tion around en­ergy ef­fi­ciency. Vol­un­tary ef­forts have proven un­suc­cess­ful in On­tario," said Chris Chopik, a real es­tate agent.

The Gov­ern­ment now has one year to im­ple­ment the di­rec­tive from the leg­is­la­ture.

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