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Inside story: Austin Energy audits show magnitude of electricity wasted
Tuesday, June 9, 2009 by Bill McCann
The first batch of energy audits required of houses going up for sale in Austin show that most of the houses are wasting a lot of energy—and money—through leaky air conditioning and heating ducts in their attics.
Some 86 percent of the first 310 audits conducted under a
Added together, the 310 houses are wasting more than 807,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually from the air ducts alone, or the equivalent of the electricity used in 67
“The results so far are confirming what energy professionals have been saying all along – that homes are wasting a lot of energy,” said Austin Energy spokesman Carlos Cordova. “We believe that the ordinance will help raise public awareness so that people will do something about it.”
Under the ordinance, as of June 1 Austin Energy customers whose houses are going up for sale must get an energy audit by an outside professional, unless the house is less than 10 years old or meets one of several other exceptions. The ordinance also includes provisions for energy audits of apartment buildings and energy ratings for commercial buildings.
The City Council approved the ordinance last November over the objections of some real estate interests. The ordinance does not require a property owner to take steps to improve the house once the audit is complete, but the seller must provide a copy of the audit to a prospective buyer and the energy auditor must provide a copy of the audit to Austin Energy, which is compiling audit information.
Supporters of the ordinance believe that it will help improve the efficiency of the housing stock in
Austin Energy officials say the timing is right for
For one thing, Austin Energy and Texas Gas Service are both offering rebates for various energy improvements, Cordova said. Combined, those rebates can total up to $2,000. In addition, new federal law allows up to $1,500 in tax credits for certain energy improvements.
“The resources are out there right now to help people make their homes more energy-efficient,” Cordova said. “That in turn raises the value and reduces the energy bills. There has never been a better time in
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