Residential Energy Disclosure
(The extent to which public comment will be taken on Feb 4th will be decided by the Public Health, Environment, Civil Rights, and Engagement Committee at its January 28th meeting)
The City of Minneapolis is currently exploring implementing three policies to enhance residential energy awareness: time of sale energy disclosure, multi-family benchmarking, and time of rent energy disclosure.
Current energy policies do not address residential properties, and voluntary policies are not achieving energy savings fast enough to meet the City’s Climate Goals. In addition, High Energy Burden is most significant among renters and makes housing less affordable. Saving energy is a long term strategy to reduce energy burden and housing costs. These policies will empower residents to make informed decisions about energy use when they move, and favor more efficient buildings that save them money.
In 2013, the City Council unanimously adopted the Minneapolis Climate Action Plan committing to energy disclosure strategies to promote energy efficiency and housing affordability. Energy disclosure is a practice of evaluating the energy efficiency of a building and making the information known to consumers.
The benefits of energy disclosure are many and include:
- Energy awareness for households. The current market does not give consumers adequate information about energy costs for their housing. Energy disclosure allows residents to more effectively budget for total housing costs.
- Provides key information during housing decision-making. Tenants and buyers can use the disclosed information to make comparisons about energy performance and costs between properties, something that cannot be done currently. New homeowners and potential tenants are also a target group for promoting energy upgrades, as they can be more receptive to making these investments (particularly when financing is available).
- Market incentive for energy improvements. The energy performance of most housing is invisible, so it is not a common feature that sellers and landlords use in competing for buyer and renter business. Disclosing that information can induce demand for better efficiency, which helps incentivize owners to invest in energy improvements.
- Improves buildings and reduces energy burden. The factors listed above can help drive efficiency projects in the City’s housing stock, which lowers the energy costs for residents. The City can make further progress by using the energy information to more effectively promote and target its own residential efficiency programs.
For more detailed descriptions and information on an upcoming public hearing for these policies, visit the Buildings and Energy section of the City of Minneapolis Sustainability webpage.
350 S 5th St
Minneapolis, MN 55415
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