Tuesday, February 24, 2009

How Green Is Your Home & We're Not Talking Colour

The province of Ontario appears to be committed to ensuring that we have a cleaner, greener environment and are considering a number of initiatives to further this cause that will affect homeowners. The Ontario Home Energy Saving Program, aimed at promoting home energy conservation amongst Ontario homeowners will contribute a maximum of $150 towards having a home energy audit conducted on your home in order to ascertain its energy usage and where energy may be getting leaked from both your home and financially from your pocketbook. A past client has such an audit scheduled for his home the cost of which is around $300 to $400.
Further to this, a private member's bill is being introduced in the Ontario legislature that would make it mandatory for a energy audit and Home Energy Rating Report to be prepared for all detached, semi-detached homes and low-rise multi-unit residential dwellings in the province. Any building or homeowner making application for a building permit after Janaury 1, 2010 and planning to sell or lease the property afterwards, would be required to provide an energy audit. The second phase of this legislation would require that after January 1, 2011 all homeowners intending to sell their property would also be required to have an audit conducted as part of the listing and sale process. This would essentially mean that homeowners would be required to disclose the energy efficiency or lack there of in their property prior to a sale being finalized.
From a real estate persepctive this is good news for both sellers and buyers alike but it also raises some as yet unanswered questions. When sellers are faced with replacing a furnace, windows or for those looking to improve their home's insulation etc. it's good to know that in addition to energy consumption savings, a further payback could be realized upon the sale of the home via being able to demonstrate the energy efficiency of the property as the result of any improvements that were made. On the contrary, shrewd buyers may use the absense of a favourable energy audit to drive down the price of a home unfairly during the negotiations. The other concern is that as of today, there is no recognized standard for energy audits and energy ratings can vary significantly as the result of varying assumptions used by one auditor verus another.
On an ever increasing basis, I find that more and more home buyers are asking questions about the hydro, gas and other utility usage of a particular property they may be considering purchasing. Having a formal audit and accompanying report can only further help to disclose pertinent information about a property and the energy usage or carbon footprint the property demonstrates provided it is done properly and consistently from one property to another. Eventually I can see this becoming an integral part of the Multiple Listing Service MLS® data for listings in the future.

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Rick relocated to Collingwood from Toronto in 1985 through a transfer with Goodyear Canada. In 1987 Rick was recruited by a major client of Goodyear’s, managing their Canadian business based in Barrie before moving to Chicago in 1992 as Vice President of Sales & Marketing. Upon returning to Canada in 1996, Rick ran an industrial products manufacturing company in Stratford, Ontario. In 1998 Rick returned to Collingwood with his two children. Rick is a licensed real estate Broker with Royal LePAGE Locations North in Collingwood and holds his MVA designation (Market Value Appraiser-Residential). He is an active volunteer in the community serving several years on the Board of Directors with the Collingwood Chamber of Commerce as Treasurer, 6 years on the Board of Directors for the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® of which he is the Past President (2008) and currently serves on a committee with the Ontario Real Estate Association. Rick is a diverse executive manager with extensive experience in strategic planning, manufacturing, finance, human resources and quality assurance management.