Code and Reg Changes Around the Nation


Here’s an update on actions taken in Portland, Ore., and Evanston, Ill., and passage of Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act.  

Portland, Ore.: After two City Council meetings that included public feedback, the Home Energy Score Policy was passed unanimously. According to the Home Performance Guild: “Portland’s new law requires sellers of single-family homes to obtain an Oregon Department of Energy-approved Home Energy Performance Report, which includes a US DOE Home Energy Score, before they list the home for sale in the City of Portland. Sellers will be required to include the Home Energy Score and 1 page report in any real estate listings and provide a copy of the home energy performance report to prospective buyers who visit the home while it is on the market. In addition to a 1 through 10 score for the energy use of the house, Home Energy Performance Reports will include fuel consumption by fuel type, annual cost of fuel by fuel type, onsite generation, and a carbon estimate, as well as recommended home improvements.”

This new policy does not require the current or new homeowner to make any improvements, but merely gives a list of recommendations. The City issued a lengthy, quote-filled press release to announce the new policy. We felt this one deserved to be highlighted:

“I am proud to be a realtor in a community that values information, communication and sustainability,” said Hilary Bourassa, an Earth Advantage Accredited principal broker with Meadows Group. “The home energy score policy will help our housing community better understand the total cost of owning a home and will assist in changing the conversation to include healthy and efficient living.”

The Home Energy Score Policy is scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2018. To read more about the policy, please visit the City’s webpage.

Evanston, Ill.: In mid-December, the Evanston City Council passed an ordinance requiring certain building owners to benchmark their annual energy and water consumption. The adoption culminated nearly two years of developing a method to better track and reduce energy waste and costs for its residents. It also puts Evanston on a list of 15 major cities that have adopted such a measure.

The new requirement applies to buildings in Evanston 20,000 square feet and greater in size. This includes apartment buildings, strip malls, schools, churches, hospitals, condominium buildings, etc. In addition, city owned buildings 10,000 square feet or greater in size will also need to adhere to the ordinance. An Energy Star Portfolio Manager will be required to demonstrate compliance.

There is a lengthy phase-in process. By June 30, 2017, the only buildings that will need to comply will be City-owned buildings 10,000 square feet or larger and Type 1 buildings 100,000 square feet or larger. Type 2 buildings between 50,000 and 99,999 square feet won’t need to comply until June 30, 2018, and Type 3 buildings 20,000 to 49,999 square feet won’t be required to use Portfolio Manager until June 30, 2019. By that time, the City of Evanston estimates that at least 700 buildings will qualify for the mandate.

Nationwide: In mid-December, President Obama signed the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act into law. According to the White House press release: “It authorizes vital water projects across the country to restore watersheds, improve waterways and flood control, and improve drinking water infrastructure. The law also authorizes $170 million for communities facing drinking water emergencies, including funding for Flint, Michigan, to recover from the lead contamination in its drinking water system. … WINN also includes four Indian water rights settlements that resolve longstanding claims to water and the conflicts surrounding those claims, address the needs of Native Communities, fulfill the Federal trust responsibility to American Indians, and provide a sound base for greater economic development for both the affected tribes and their non-Indian neighbors.”

The Act also has short and long-term measures for California, and “short term provisions governing operations of the federal and state water projects under the Endangered Species Act for up to five years, regardless of drought condition.”