|Austin Business Journal, November 20, 2009|
|Proposal ruffles builders|
|The new rule will instead mandate testing for every single- or two-family unit by outside contractors. More: http://austin.bizjournals.com/austin/stories/2009/11/23/story3.html?b=1258952400^2478101|
I am all for improvements, but it seems to me that the market has pushed builders to improve energy ratings and will continue to do so. The “good” builders obviously market their superior efficiency and the utilities savings that will result for homeowners. Other builders won’t be able to substantiate such marketing claims, but may be able to sell their products at lower prices.
Of course, the market will also determine how much value buyers attach to improvements, and there is a limit. This proposal will “level the field” by imposing the same costs on all builders equally, but buyers will still limit how much they are willing to pay for better energy efficiency. At some point, that will limit the sale of new homes in Austin and/or push new construction farther and farther from the city.
The article notes that statewide adoption of the international standards is required to qualify for federal stimulus funds. Does increasing the cost of housing and increasing sprawl really qualify as “stimulus”?