Nevada REALTORS® and building performance professionals are crediting two members of the state Assembly with helping them forge a partnership leading to a new state law promoting more energy-efficient homes.
Leaders of the Nevada Association of REALTORS® (NVAR) and the Nevada Building Performance Professionals (NBPP) said a new state law passed as AB432 requires energy auditors to be licensed and repeals a requirement that home sellers complete a short-lived energy consumption form that many homeowners found to be confusing.
NVAR President Mike Young and NBPP leader Alison Haugh agreed this week that Nevada homeowners will benefit from the new law introduced by Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas, and Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson, D-Reno.
AB432 was signed into law by Gov. Brian Sandoval on June 13, with all aspects of the law taking effect by July 1. It regulates the practice of energy auditors in Nevada, as well as repealing legislation that was approved in 2007.
The 2007 law was the subject of intense debate between the two groups. While agreeing they wanted to promote energy efficiency, the NVAR and NBPP initially disagreed on energy consumption standards and regulations.
The 2007 legislation required the Nevada Energy Commissioner to adopt a regulation before January 2011 creating a standard for energy consumption for single-family residences. Under the resulting regulation, the seller or a certified home inspector could fill out a form – which Young said many NVAR members considered burdensome – detailing the energy efficiency of the home. The regulation also allowed buyers and sellers to waive this requirement.
In response to this regulation, NVAR and NBPP began meeting in January. Both groups agreed the regulation was not an effective way to promote energy efficiency and did little to protect consumers.
NBPP and NVAR leaders worked together and with the two assemblywomen to find common ground. They eventually came to an agreement on a few key points and sought out Kirkpatrick, who had submitted a bill draft request for the 2011 legislative session to address the current regulation. Leaders of both groups said they worked with Kirkpatrick and Benitez-Thompson to draft legislation that protects the consumer, while legitimizing and regulating the energy auditing business in Nevada.
In the end, NBPP and the NVAR presented Kirkpatrick with a letter of agreement that formed the basis for the new law that repealed the previous standards for energy consumption regulation and the licensure of energy auditors. They committed to work together to have an energy audit option included on the purchase agreement for residential properties. They also agreed to include an energy audit field along with fields showing energy-efficient features of homes listed in the Multiple Listing Services throughout the state. And they agreed to work together to educate REALTORS® statewide about energy audits and retrofits.
Young said these initiatives are already underway, which is good for industry professionals and homeowners.
“Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick and Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson should be commended for their work on this legislation and for bringing these two industries together,” Young said.
While many details must still be worked out, Haugh said the partnership between the home performance industry and REALTORS® should continue promoting energy efficiency and the growth of the home performance industry – without creating a burden on homeowners and sellers.
“As consumers become more familiar with the savings that can be achieved through energy upgrades, it is logical to conclude that they will utilize the new MLS fields, which were introduced in June, and increase the demand for a more energy-efficient housing stock,” Haugh said. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with the REALTORS® as it provides a great benefit for consumers.”
About the NVAR
The Nevada Association of REALTORS® is a professional trade association with nearly 15,000 members. NVAR is committed to protecting, promoting and preserving our communities. Visit www.NVAR.org.
With chapters in Reno and Las Vegas, NBPP provides benefits for energy raters and retrofit contractors, including access to news about the industry, local events, training, and a voice to address the public as well as state and national policy makers. Membership in NBPP is open to all interested participants. Visit www.nbpponline.com.
# # #