Home Energy Audits Optional in Cap-and-Trade Bill

A section in HR 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which narrowly passed a US House of Representatives vote Friday, falls short of mandating an energy audit on homes, according to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Section 204 of the cap-and-trade bill establishes a building energy performance labeling program for homes and commercial property. The section would provide potential buyers and investors in those properties a label explaining that property’s energy efficiency. Much like a nutrition label on the back of a candy bar, the performance labeling program is a consumer right-to-know provision in the cap-and-trade bill, but it is not required, according to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Section 202 of the bill develops the Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance (REEP) program. If the owner of the building — residential or commercial — seeks financial assistance from REEP, the property must pass the energy audit. Energy savings for residential properties are determined by the Home Energy Ratings System (HERS) Index, and the final score is selected by an objective third party, according to the bill. After the audit is conducted, state and local REEP programs may grant funds to owners for retrofit improvements on energy efficiency. Write to Jon Prior.

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