Austin’s Energy Conservation Audit and Disclosure Ordinance
How it may affect your Austin real estate
Note: As of May 2, 2011, important changes to the Austin Energy Conservation Audit and Disclosure (ECAD) Ordinance have been implemented. These changes are reflected in the information below.
The City of Austin’s Energy Conservation Audit and Disclosure (ECAD) Ordinance became effective June 1, 2009. Here’s what you need to know:
As Austin’s population has increased, so has the demand for Austin Energy’s services. The Climate Protection Plan was passed in February 2007 with the goal of increasing energy efficiency. Originally, the plan consisted of mandating costly energy efficient upgrades at the time an Austin home was sold. The Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR) worked with City of Austin officials to limit the mandatory components of the ECAD Ordinance. The revised plan will help reduce energy consumption while keeping houses in Austin affordable.
What is required?
Under the ECAD Ordinance, owners of homes and condominiums that lie within the Austin city limits and are serviced by Austin Energy would be required to obtain an energy audit prior to selling their properties. Audit findings would then be disclosed as part of the standard seller’s disclosure notice. If an option period has been defined in the sales contract, the findings must be disclosed no later than three days prior to the end of the option period. If there is no option period, audit results must be disclosed prior to execution of the sales contract.
When did the ordinance go into effect?
The ECAD Ordinance became effective June 1, 2009. The current disclosure requirements became effective May 2, 2011.
How do I comply?
The ECAD Ordinance audit is required as part of the seller’s disclosure notice. It must be completed and disclosed no later than three days prior to the end of the option period defined in the sales contract. If there is no option period, audits must be disclosed prior to execution of the sales contract.
Homeowners interested in saving money on their utility bills and increasing their homes’ energy efficiency are encouraged to have their Austin real estate audited before they consider selling, as early audits can pinpoint simple ways to increase a home’s energy efficiency. Additionally, under the current ordinance, each energy efficiency audit will be good for 10 years, so having your Austin home audited now can prevent a last minute scramble to comply with the ordinance.
How much will the audits cost?
Energy audits are expected to cost $200 to $300 for an average-size home in Austin with one heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) unit.
Are there any exceptions?
Yes. Properties in foreclosure or pre-foreclosure; properties subject to eminent domain; transactions between family members; properties under court order, in probate proceedings or under decree of legal separation or dissolution of marriage are exempt. Additionally, properties fewer than 10 years old, manufactured homes designed for use without a permanent foundation and properties owned by participants in designated Austin Energy Electric Utility programs or buyers who agree in writing to participate in these programs within six months of the home purchase are also exempt. Your REALTOR® can help you determine whether your home is exempt from the ECAD Ordinance.
Who should I contact to find an auditor?
Your REALTOR® can help you find an auditor with the proper credentials for conducting an energy efficiency audit on your Austin real estate. Energy audits must be conducted by professionals who have been certified by either the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) or the Building Performance Institute and who are registered by Austin Energy as approved contractors for this program. If you would prefer to look for an auditor on your own, Austin Energy provides a comprehensive list of ECAD auditors on their website.
Where can I find more information?
Keep in mind that the ECAD Ordinance may affect you differently if you are the owner of a multifamily property. Contact your Central Texas REALTOR® or Austin Energy for further details.