Understanding Austin’s energy efficiency ordinance

If you’re in the market to buy or sell Austin real estate, you may have heard of Austin’s energy efficiency ordinance, officially known as the Energy Conservation Audit and Disclosure (ECAD) Ordinance.

Under the ECAD Ordinance, some Austin homeowners are required to have an energy audit performed on their home prior to selling it and share that audit report with potential buyers. In most cases, an audit is required for homes lying within the Austin city limits that are older than 10 years and serviced by Austin Energy. (Exceptions apply, so talk to your REALTOR® about whether the ordinance will affect you.)

Though the ECAD ordinance took effect June 1, 2009, the city’s effort to “go green” and stop manufacturing excess carbon dioxide (CO2) dates back much further.

In 2007, 70% of the city’s electricity was being used by homes and commercial buildings, with the average home generating twice the greenhouse-gas emissions as the average car (roughly 11,450 pounds of CO2 yearly, according to the Environmental Protection Agency).

With this in mind, the Austin City Council established the Austin Climate Protection Plan (ACPP) with the goal of making Austin “the most livable city in the country” and a carbon-neutral city by 2020.

As the ACPP consists of five components, each with their own specific initiatives, the ECAD Ordinance was created to address but a single part of the puzzle: how to pursue energy efficient upgrades for existing buildings. The ECAD Ordinance seeks to educate homeowners on potential for energy savings within their home in hopes that they will voluntarily opt for cost-effective upgrades.

Energy audits are good for 10 years, so consider having an audit performed on your home now to prevent a last-minute scramble and begin benefiting from the audit findings today. For more information on the ECAD Ordinance, talk to your Central Texas REALTOR®.

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