Posted By Carolyn on July 23, 2009
In late June, the House of Representatives passed a 1,200 page piece of legislation being called the “Waxman-Markey Cap & Trade Bill”. The intention of the bill is to vastly reduce carbon emissions by the year 2020, with mandates in reductions starting as early as 2012.
Cap & Trade already exists as a program under the US Environmental Protection Agency. The program places mandatory limits on emissions while providing companies with the flexibility in how they comply. Remember Acid Rain? Well, there was a cap and trade legislation implemented on that emission, namely on Sulfur Dioxide, back in 1995. It has been successful in reducing Sulfur Dioxide emissions by a reported 30%.
The new Cap & Trade legislation is a sweeping legislation aimed at reducing carbon emissions by the year 2020 & beyond. This legislation is intended to create limits for the amount of carbon any company can emit. It also allows methods for those companies to earn more rights to emit carbon through implementation of renewable energy sources (wind, solar, geothermal…). Ultimately it will put a price on carbon emissions, with the goal of reducing the amount of emissions by 14% by 2020, and by a whopping 83% by 2050.
Needless to say, it won’t be an easy battle to win considering early estimates show companies could have to pay upwards of $600 billion in the auction of the of these free-market carbon emissions alone. Not to mention the billions in upgrades in technology that will be required for coal power facilities and others who don’t comply.
What should be most alarming to you as a consumer is the fact that this bill has 2 provisions that will directly affect your ability to buy and sell any home. The first provision states that all newly constructed homes in the U.S. will have to be built to the existing California building code (translation: 30% more stringent energy requirements). For builders who don’t know how to cost effectively implement these new requirements, it will translate into THOUSANDS of dollars in additional costs.
The second provision states that in order to sell ANY home on the market (whether it was built in 2009 or in 1928) it must meet these new building code requirements or else pay a tax in order to sell. That’s right. If your house was built in 1982, you would have to have a professional energy audit on your home in order to be able to sell it. AND if it doesn’t meet today’s energy & code requirements you would be required to either make the upgrades, or pay an additional tax to sell that home. Hello ten’s of thousands of dollars.
While the House has passed this legislation, the Senate has not. Most likely there will be major revisions to the Senate version, and unless both houses have more guts than I think they do, I do not believe the provision requiring homeowners to update their homes will remain in future versions.
I mention all of this because this “Green Movement” and this “Energy Movement” is not going away. While this legislation may not drastically change the energy code requirements of homes, mark my words there will be required changes coming soon. Potterhill Homes are built to the energy requirements of tomorrow. Is your home?