Show Off Your Energy Efficiency

Renting is no longer just a stopgap between living with parents and owning a home. As the private rental sector has grown, long-term renting has become much more common. Currently, people on low incomes are more likely to be renters and increasingly high energy costs means that inefficient rental housing is compounding social disadvantage, through higher power bills and worse health. 

Bridging the tenant-landlord divide is an important first step in having a more energy efficient rental unit. Good landlords desire to rent out properties to good tenants. By being straightforward with your landlord and asking questions pertaining to the efficiency of the unit, you make it clear that you care about the quality of the space you are living in. 

Currently, there is no disclosure policy in place for the state of Minnesota. An energy use disclosure mandate would require realtors, property owners, or managers to provide data on building energy usage to prospective tenants or home buyers. This disclosure could include actual historical utility data, averages of the energy use intensity, or estimates based on equipment and other characteristics to inform the potential occupants of their expected expenses.

These energy use disclosures increase the transparency of true building costs and protect tenants and purchasers. Inefficient building design, appliances, or maintenance can substantially increase both the cost of occupancy and the costs to the climate by wasting carbon-intensive energy. A disclosure takes the surprise out of the arrival of a home or building’s energy bills, where these hidden costs are revealed!

An energy use disclosure mandate can be a mechanism to incentivize investment in energy efficiency and renewable or alternative energy sources. Tenants and home buyers decision making is influenced by low energy costs and property owners respond to this market pressure to make improvements that save  occupants money and carbon emissions.

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