Energy labeling motion passed
Ottawa-Orléans MPP wants to protect property buyers
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.