By Lane Burt
The enemies of energy efficiency have unveiled their new tactic to keep you from saving money and energy: they're just going to tell you ridiculous lies and hope you believe them. It seems that because they have had a hard time weakening the money saving efficiency provisions in the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), they have decided to make up policies and claim they are in the bill to convince folks that being more efficient is not a great idea.
The anti-efficiency crowd have alleged that the ACES bill is going to require Americans trying to sell their homes to undergo some sort of energy inspection or meet some sort of green requirements-"or else". Of course, when I have heard and read this claim there isn't a provision cited, and for good reason-- it doesn't exist! This "down with efficiency" story is simply a complete fabrication.
I've blogged several times on what the bill actually says, but I can simplify:
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The bill says that new buildings are going to be more efficient in the future and as a result consumers are going to save billions (with a "B"). Buildings that already exist today will not be required to do anything, while buyers of more efficient new homes will save tens of thousands of dollars over the term of their mortgage-- just because of ACES' better building standards policy. If the efficiency improvements don't save money, they won't be required. It's as simple as that. I guess making something up is easier than explaining why better buildings that save money are bad.
The (real) bill also says that EPA is going to develop a building energy label so interested consumers can know how efficient their homes are and how efficient they could be. There is no requirement to improve the building to a certain level of efficiency after you get your label. In fact there is no requirement at all, because the label is completely voluntary!
The label will evaluate the whole building, so if you have invested in new windows or efficient appliances, then you are going to have a better score. I bet a potential buyer is going to be interested in how much money he/she is going to save because of the improvements that have been made. Here again, making up something must be easier than explaining why consumers don't have the right to know the efficiency of their homes and offices.
I think it's pretty clear why the anti-efficiency crowd doesn't want these policies or the bill passed into law. It's because they make money at your expense right now and they want it to stay that way. Fortunately the authors of ACES know this opportunity to inject billions of dollars in savings back into our economy is too important to waste just to please the worst elements of the construction and real estate industry.