Energy disclosure ordinance takes effect 

home
Starting Jan. 15, homeowners will be required to collect certain energy-efficiency data before listing their homes for sale. Photo by Nate Gotlieb

A city ordinance requiring one- and two-family homeowners to collect certain energy efficiency data before listing their homes for sale takes effect Jan. 15.

The City Council approved the law last year as part of a broader effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Homeowners can fulfill the requirements of the ordinance in one of two ways: either by having a Truth In Sale of Housing (TISH) inspector collect the data during the mandatory pre-listing evaluation or by getting an energy audit from Xcel Energy and CenterPoint Energy’s Home Energy Squad program.

It does not require homeowners or homebuyers make any infrastructure upgrades, but the hope is that they may choose to do so after getting the additional information.

In either case, the inspector will need to evaluate a home’s windows, heating system and attic and wall insulation and compile the data into an “energy score.” City officials have said the score, which will be a number between 0 and 100, indicates the efficiency of a house. More efficient houses will have higher scores.

The inspector will also prepare a report detailing the improvements a homeowner or homebuyer could make, how much those improvements typically cost and how much could be saved annually by making them.

To measure wall insulation levels, inspectors will have to drill a two-inch hole in a wall in the home, unless it was built after 1980. The ordinance stipulates that the hole should be in a discreet location and should be plugged after the evaluation.

Either audit option could cost homeowners money. The traditional TISH inspection costs around $200, according to Mike Andrejka of A to Z Home Inspection LLC, who said he plans to charge about $50 more for collecting the efficiency information.

Home Energy Squad visits are either $70 or $100, though city sustainability head Kim Havey said they’re available for no cost for people with incomes below the area median.

Havey also said the city has 0% financing available for energy improvements.

According to the city’s 2013 Climate Action Plan, residential properties are responsible for about 20% of emissions in Minneapolis. Much of the city’s housing stock was built before 1960, according to the nonprofit Center for Energy and Environment, and about 70% of the city’s homes do not have adequate insulation, a key feature for increasing efficiency.

The Climate Action Plan calls for 75% of houses to undergo energy retrofits by 2025.

Visit minneapolismn.gov/ccs/ccs_tish to learn more about the new requirements or homeenergysquad.net to learn about the Home Energy Squad program.