Energy Conservation Audit and Disclosure Ordinance
Whether buying or selling a home in the Austin area, you can benefit from the Energy Conservation Audit and Disclosure (ECAD) ordinance during real estate transactions. The ordinance, as described in Chapter 6-7 Energy Conservation of the Austin City Code, requires energy disclosures for homes and buildings more than 10 years old which are served by Austin Energy and located within Austin city limits. This City of Austin ordinance simply indicates the responsibility of sellers to disclose energy audit details, without insisting that improvements must be made.
Like other energy ordinances throughout the nation and the world, ECAD helps promote energy efficiency and environmental responsibility by identifying energy savings opportunities for property owners. Improving home energy efficiency can:
- Improve indoor air quality and comfort
- Save money and energy
- Increase value and marketability
While certain exemptions may apply, the ECAD audit typically occurs during the time of home sale, with a completion deadline at time of contract signing or during the 10-day option period. Potential home sellers may arrange for the ECAD audit earlier, using the results to identify energy efficiency improvements made or desired to differentiate the house on the market.
To comply with the ordinance, home sellers work with certified energy professionals to conduct the ECAD audit, which requires specialized equipment and attention. Sellers pay for, receive and share audit details with potential buyers. The audit includes assessing the efficiency of air infiltration and ductwork, attic insulation, windows, weatherization, heating and cooling. Per the ordinance, this information then goes to home buyers and to Austin Energy.
As the City of Austin continues to encourage more sustainable practices, the ECAD ordinance benefits each side of a real estate transaction. For home buyers, the energy audit provides a helpful tool when evaluating a home, whether looking for a place already energy efficient or a new project for home improvements. In addition, home buyers can use the audit to anticipate any potentially hidden costs associated with ongoing maintenance and home energy use, clarifying the full cost of a new home.
For home sellers, an ECAD audit that discloses an array of energy efficiency home features translates into a more distinct and attractive listing in the competitive real estate marketplace. Savvy sellers and buyers recognize that the energy efficiency features identified through the ECAD audit contribute to ‘green’ listings in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and increase home value.
Austin Energy offers a variety of energy efficiency upgrade incentives to help homeowners offset the costs of making improvements identified through the ECAD audit. Homeowners who have made energy efficiency improvements to the home through Austin Energy programs may qualify for an ECAD exemption.
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