This is big.
Portland, Oregon is taking a big step towards greener homes by paying builders to build more efficient homes.
It's actually a three-pronged approach targeting new homes (including detached houses, attached houses, condos, and apartments), and retail centers:
• Builders will be charged a fee if new homes only meet the minimum standards.
• Builders will not be charged a fee if new homes are 30% more energy efficient than the minimum standards.
• Builders will be paid using proceeds from the first case if new homes are 45% more efficient that the minimum standards.
The big winners in this scenario are the new occupants of these buildings, who will enjoy a lifetime of low utility bills. We're confident that once builders learn how to meet the higher requirements—and learn how to market energy efficiency as well as they market granite countertops—they'll come around as big supporters of this plan.
We think this is an intelligent, workable model for dramatically increasing energy efficiency throughout the entire country. Public comment on the plan is scheduled for January; if you live in Portland, make sure your representatives know how you feel about this.