Jun 10 2016

Should a Residential Building Energy Savings Ordinance Be Approved?

The proposed energy saving ordinance has met with strong opposition from Piedmonters.

Most respondents to a City Survey did not encourage the Council to adopt Building Energy Savings Ordinance (BESO) mandates in a new ordinance. Even real estate agents largely opposed it.

In April, 2016 the City invited real estate agents, contractors, residents “who had previously indicated interest in Climate Action Plan updates” and others to complete an online survey about possible Building Energy Savings Ordinances (BESO) for Piedmont. The survey was intended to help City staff develop a BESO ordinance.

The BESO would require a home energy assessment at homeowner expense whenever a house is sold, at a certain date for every owner, or at the time of renovation to a yet to be determined extent.

The assessor would prepare a Home Energy Report on the property which would result in an official Home Energy Score (HES) from the Department of Energy.

Piedmont homeowners who responded to the survey were overwhelmingly opposed to a BESO ordinance.

Real estate agents who are not Piedmont residents were inclined to support a BESO ordinance that was only triggered by renovation, not by sale of the home. Real estate agents who are Piedmont residents opposed BESO triggered by either renovation or sale.

The matter will be considered at the Planning Commission, meeting Monday, June 13, 2016 starting at 5 p.m. at 120 Vista Avenue, City Hall.  The meeting is open to public participation and will also be broadcast live on Cable Channel 27 and on the City website under “online video.”

Agenda for the June 13, 2016 meeting <

Read the staff report and the BESO survey here.<

The proposed ordinance is part of the City’s Climate Action Program agreed to by the City Council in their efforts to reduce Piedmont’s carbon footprint.  Since Piedmont does not have factories or large polluting facilities, energy reduction in housing has been turned to as a way to control energy usage in Piedmont.

Notification about the proposed homeowner energy retrofit requirements was sent to some of those requesting information, as follows:

“You are receiving this email because you had asked to be notified of any activity by the Planning Commission or City Council related to the City’s climate action program.

Item 3 on the agenda for the June 13, 2016 meeting of the Piedmont Planning Commission is the consideration of revisions to City Code Chapter 17F to include requirements for a Building Energy Report and Score at the time of sale of a residential building. Posted on the City’s website are information on this topic and a link to the staff report, Exhibit A of which outlines the proposed code changes.

“Planning Commission will consider whether to recommend that the City Council adopt the code changes, known as a Building Energy Savings Ordinance (BESO). The recommendation will be brought to City Council at a meeting later this summer.

“You are encouraged to provide your comments on the Code changes under consideration by attending the meeting and/or by submitting written comments. You can submit your written comments to the Commission by sending an email to Assistant Planner Emily Alvarez or on paper to the address below.”

Kevin Jackson, AICP

Interim Planning Director

City of Piedmont, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611

Tel: (510) 420-3039

Fax: (510) 658-3167

2 Responses to “Should a Residential Building Energy Savings Ordinance Be Approved?”

  1. ANOTHER TAX!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO, NO, NO!

  2. George, While it could have been potentially more expensive than any tax, the only recommendation now from Staff is Point of Sale (and I oppose that.) In its most onerous form BESO would require all homes by a certain date, whether sold or remodeled, to have an energy audit at homeowner’s expense; and, then require upgrades. The results of the survey seem quite negative, but, of course, the Planning Commission could recommend otherwise and City Council can take action as they please.

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