The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) has successfully lobbied against a provincial proposal to require home sellers to conduct an energy audit and list the score on MLS.
As part of its five-year climate change action plan, Ontario wanted to provide free energy audits to improve consumer awareness by allowing home buyers to compare homes by energy rating and to incentive owners to make energy efficient renovations.
Selling Price Concerns
The Home Energy Rating and Disclosure program was to be launched in 2019, but plans were cancelled this March after consulting with lobby groups such as OREA.
OREA was mainly concerned that a lower energy score would reduce a home’s selling price and unfairly target homes listed on the MLS – privately sold homes would be exempt from providing an energy score to prospective buyers.
Other concerns brought up were about the energy auditors’ credentials, whom OREA claim lack rigorous training and standards. It’s not clear if homeowners can properly trust the findings of an energy audit they if they are not licensed by a provincial regulating body and have no code of conduct.
A 2007 Toronto Star investigation, for example, details that four auditors came up with four wildly different energy ratings for the same Toronto house.
The Impact of Reduced Home Emissions
While claiming to support Ontario’s attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it’s unclear if OREA believes that energy efficient residential homes would have any measurable impact on such emissions.
“In the last quarter of 2014, only 7.1 per cent of Ontario’s electricity production was generated through fossil fuels. Due to the overwhelming majority of electricity production from clean energy sources in Ontario, a reduction in home energy consumption in Ontario will have only a minimal impact on the province’s GHG targets,” writes OREA in its consultation submission to the Ontario Ministry of Energy in 2015.
In the same letter, however, OREA appears to contradict itself by writing “…REALTORS® want to see a greener, healthier environment for future generations and we believe energy efficient housing can play an important role in achieving those goals.”
OREA suggests an alternative solution would be to voluntary include an energy audit in a standard home inspection.