The Baker-Polito Administration recently filed legislation aimed at ensuring homeowners and prospective homebuyers have access to information about the anticipated energy efficiency characteristics of residences and recommended cost-effective energy efficiency improvements. The legislation, An Act Relative to Consumer Access to Residential Energy Information is an exciting transparency measure for the residential green building industry.
This legislation would require that a home energy scorecard and energy rating be provided to homeowners as part of free residential energy efficiency assessments, and after January 1, 2021, would require that home energy performance ratings be made available to potential homebuyers when one to four unit family homes are publicly listed for sale.This will increase transparency around home energy consumption, which is comparable to using MPG to measure the efficiency of a car. This way, residential consumers can make more informed decisions related to the energy efficiency of their homes, creating additional market pressure for more green buildings.
According to Governor Charlie Baker, “Massachusetts is a national leader in energy efficiency, and this first-of-its-kind legislation would provide energy performance data to homeowners and buyers to improve consumer information and promote home energy efficiency,”
The energy scorecard would be provided to homeowners who receive quality home energy assessments, including no-cost Mass Save in-home assessments and RESNET Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index evaluations. This scorecard would be an estimate of annual energy consumption, including factors such as the home’s architectural features, most commonly lighting, insulation and heating equipment.
Beyond the scorecard, MA residents will be eligible for financial incentives for efficiency measures, including insulation and energy efficient heating. Furthermore, Mass Save provides zero percent financing for qualifying improvements and equipment, as well as up to 10 K toward energy improvements, and rebates and loan products for renewable energy tech from MassCEC.
This new legislation is a welcome addition to help cement Massachusetts as a leader in green building nation-wide. Massachusetts has been ranked the #1 state for energy efficiency for the past seven years by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), and upon passage of this legislation, would be the first state in the country to require home energy scorecards for residential homes to be made available to potential homebuyers.