Building Rating & Disclosure
State and local governments are laboratories for innovation in energy efficiency policies and programs. Policymakers, regulators, and citizens at all levels increasingly recognize that energy efficiency is crucially important to their economies and are increasingly taking action and seeking information on policies and programs in their communities. Today ACEEE is launching a new database tool that highlights the energy efficiency leadership—and opportunities for improvement—of state and local governments around the United States.
As 2013 draws to a close, it's useful to reflect back on the past year and look forward to the coming one. Despite political and economic headwinds, the states and federal and local governments continued to make progress on energy efficiency policies in 2013. Among the states, Mississippi and Louisiana decided to begin utility programs, and Connecticut and Maine passed legislation to advance efficiency initiatives.
The recently released 2013 City Energy Efficiency Scorecard ranked 34 of the largest U.S. cities on their efforts to save energy—but we don’t think large cities should have all the fun. In order to help other cities see where they stack up, today ACEEE released the Local Energy Efficiency Self-Scoring Tool (Version 1.0 BETA).
Chicago is making an existing energy-use disclosure ordinance more user friendly for citizens. In the 1980s, the city passed a law allowing potential homebuyers and renters access to utility information for houses and apartments of interest to them. While this gave consumers the opportunity to obtain valuable information on a major cost of housing (one that sets the average U.S. homeowner back about $2,000 a year), few prospective buyers or tenants took advantage of the access that the law provides.
What if people could have access to a piece of valuable information that they don’t currently receive about the house they are considering for purchase? What if this could happen with very little bureaucracy and limited program implementation costs? Sound appealing?
Today I have the privilege of testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. My hope is that this is the beginning of a discussion that will lead to federal energy efficiency legislation later this year.
From the Ground Up: How Local Governments and Community Organizations Are Delivering Energy Efficiency in Innovative Ways
and Erin Brandt, Metropolitan Area Planning Council
Policies to improve the energy use information available to building owners, operators, buyers, and tenants have proliferated in the past few years. The City of Austin, Texas and its municipal electric utility, Austin Energy, have been leaders in these information policies.