The city is considering a revision to the city resale inspection process to include opportunities and/or requirements for “greening” existing homes at the time of resale. Gregory Mahoney, Assistant Building Official with the city, spoke at this morning’s Yolo Association of Realtors meeting to introduce the various methods under consideration and seek our input.
Many agents like myself are concerned that these measures are punitive to owners trying to sell their homes, adding perhaps $5,000 or more of additional seller costs on top of complying with the resale inspection process as it currently exists. I believe that greening of existing homes should be voluntary, and it should be rewarded by the city. The city could provide incentives such as lowering a homeowner’s property taxes when green features are implemented, rather than forcing owners to green their homes when facing financial and other stresses at the time of sale, such as divorce, job change, relocation, or short sale issues. I am a Certified Ecobroker and I love listing and showing homes with green features, including passive solar, use of sustainable materials and water conservation, but forcing the issue at the time of resale is the absolute wrong time to implement a greener Davis.
The following passages are taken directly from a memo from Mr. Mahoney’s office:
The proposed green building ordinance was reviewed at the March 26, 2008 joint Planning Commission, Natural Resources Commission meeting. During that meeting commission members expressed an interest in seeing a companion ordinance that relates to the greening of homes or buildings at point of sale. The City Council also expressed an interest in seeing a revised resale ordinance that addresses the opportunity to green buildings at the time of sale. In response, staff began exploring options for a green resale ordinance. This report includes a basic timeline for the development of the green resale ordinance. The timeline lists milestones in the development of the ordinance and also opportunities to ensure that the ordinance is vetted by affected stakeholders.
The report also lists some possible methods for compliance and enforcement. The process is in the initial evaluation phase at this time. Staff will develop recommendations for the ordinance after evaluation of feedback from the Natural Resources Commission and affected stakeholders.
October 17, 2008 – Identify possible program components or methods for compliance
November 24, 2008 – Presentation to NRC of general program components under consideration
December/January 2008/2009 – Develop recommendations for the program
February 2009 – Meet with the real estate community
March 2009 – Bring recommendations to NRC for feedback
April 2009 – Develop implementation schedule and re-write resale ordinance
May 2009 – Submit to City Attorney for review and comment. Present to NRC/Planning Commission
June 2009 – Present to City Council for approval
Methods and Measures under Consideration
1. Prescriptive Method
List of sustainable measures that must be in place at the time of resale. Similar to what is in place in Berkeley, the list would include measures such as low flow fixtures, minimum insulation requirements, weatherstripping, and CFLs.
2. Performance Method
Based on diagnostic testing, the building would have to meet minimum efficiency criteria. The testing would include duct blower testing to determine the efficiency of the HVAC delivery system, and blower door testing to determine the efficiency of the building envelope.
3. Points Based System
Would include a list of sustainability measures in different categories such as energy efficiency, water conservation, indoor air quality, preservation of natural resources. Point thresholds would be established. Points based system would offer the homeowner flexibility. The homeowner could choose which measures to implement in order to gain compliance. The measures would be assigned values based on cost, time to complete the measure and bang for buck.
4. CA Energy Commission, HERS Phase II. Expands upon the existing program scope by including audit or rating of new and existing homes.
Consistent, accurate, and uniform ratings performed by 3rd party HERS raters, based on a single statewide rating scale. Audits or ratings include reasonable estimates of potential utility bill savings and recommendations on cost-effective measures to improve energy efficiency. Establish labeling procedures to meet the needs of home buyers and homeowners, renters, the real estate industry and mortgage lenders with an interest in home energy ratings. Provide techniques for determining energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Provide techniques to develop recommendations for energy efficiency improvements, including cross checking against utility bills.
5. Build It Green for Existing Homes
Green Point Rated Existing Home is modeled after Green Point Rated New Home. The Green Point Rated Existing Home is graded on the same 5 categories – Energy Efficiency, Resource Conservation, Indoor Air Quality, Water Conservation and Community. Energy modeling matches the CA Energy Commission’s draft protocols for evaluation of existing homes. The rating system is available for homes of all vintages: existing or undergoing remodeling.