Friday, November 13, 2009

Do you own rental property in Boulder Colorado?

The City of Boulder is propsing some changes to the rental licensing program that could cost you $1,000 - $2,000 per unit. Please take a look at the propsed program below.





Draft Energy Efficiency Proposal and Compliance Options

This document outlines potential options for an energy efficiency code for existing rental housing. The code is proposed to be a local amendment (Appendix B) of the International Property Maintenance Code.

Background
In order to increase the energy efficiency of Boulder’s rental housing stock, the city is proposing to initiate both education programs for tenants and regulatory requirements for property owners.

Education and Occupant Behavior
While there are limited ways in which energy conservation education and occupant behavior can be addressed through codes, the following summary outlines how these issues are being addressed through other city and collaborative community efforts.
(See document XXX for more information – refers to open house document still being developed)

Climate Action Plan programs – Residential Energy Action Program, Neighborhood Sweeps, CU Green Teams, new “two techs and a truck” program
CU- COPIRG Energy Program
Boulder County Energy Corps
Proposed market- Based Approach: RentSmart
· Developing an energy rating system for rental housing would inform renters which properties are the most efficient.
· Properties which exceed the minimum code levels for efficiency could be listed in a centralized RentSmart database.
· A marketing campaign/recognition program could be developed to raise awareness among renters about the total cost of occupancy of a rental unit.
· A campaign would encourage renters to ask for the efficiency rating of the property.
· If renters choose properties based on the rating of the property, landlords could have an incentive to upgrade their properties to remain competitive in the market.
· Details associated with the design and cost of developing and maintaining this system will be explored in early 2010.

Code Requirements
Review Criteria
The proposed code and compliance options were developed to meet the following criteria:
Upgrades the existing housing stock through energy efficiency improvements
Makes improvements while recognizing the limitations of commercial ownership
Considers the rental housing contribution to the community greenhouse gas emissions goal
Presents flexibility for compliance:
Prescriptive list uses a menu – property owners choose measures that correlate to the age and type of construction of their particular buildings
Performance system uses a third-party rating system to determine the level of energy efficiency to be attained
Include options for carbon offset purchases[1]
Accommodates multi-family units (MFUs) –most likely will choose the performance compliance path (only a sampling of the units in a building are tested for performance)
Accommodates older buildings – most likely will choose the prescriptive compliance path
Equitable across dwelling units
Manageable to both city staff and stakeholders

Additional work to be done
Ø Staff will be developing accommodations for Home Owner Association (HOA)- controlled condominiums
Ø Staff is developing financing, rebates and technical assistance programs to support property owners as they retrofit their buildings (Refer to document XX for information on rebates, financing, and the development of a “Two techs and a Truck” code compliance program - refers to open house document still being developed)

Summary of Code Options: Appendix B of International Property Maintenance Code
Scope: Applies to all rental licenses

Exceptions
Property constructed after July 2001
Property meets or exceeds the 2000 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC)

Compliance (must complete one or the other):
Performance: Property owner can demonstrate energy performance of building. Performance is measured by a third-party energy rating system.
Reduction in energy and water consumption would be verified by a third-party energy audit compared to established local baseline by ICC Certified Energy inspector.
Prescriptive: List of energy and water efficiency improvements with corresponding points; property owners can choose options on list that add up to the minimum required point level (20 points)
Compliance will be verified through an International Code Council (ICC) Certified Energy Inspector.
Energy efficiency upgrades in rental units installed prior to this process going into effect can be included in the energy measures point tally upon verification by an ICC Energy Inspector.
Performance
Propose building to meet 120 on Home Energy Rating System (HERS)[2]

Prescriptive
The following prescriptive options were adapted from the National Green Building Standard (NGBS), a national code developed by the National Home Builders Association (NAHB) and the International Code Council (ICC).
Code for green buildings and remodels, includes options for addressing existing buildings
Proposed to include references in Appendix B refer to a few sections of the NGBS
Staff can amend specific standards. Based on community feedback and recommendations, pieces from the prescriptive list can be further clarified or modified to be relevant to Boulder’s existing housing stock.

NGBS contains a point rating system for prescriptive measures:
} Will be incorporated into proposed voluntary “RentSmart” campaign.20 points: Proposed required level for Smart Regs Energy Efficiency
Bronze = 30 points
Silver = 60 points
Gold = 100 points
Emerald = 120 points
Sample* prescriptive list from sections 703, 704, 705, and 801 of NGBS:
Measure
Points**
Energy Efficiency Measures – Proposed 20 points required

Air Sealing and Insulation 3 or 15
Window replacement Up to12
HVAC Upgrades 6-15
Water Heater 1-10
Lighting 1-8
Appliance Upgrades 3-7
Renewable Energy 1-20
Duct & HVAC reconfiguration 1-15
Energy Consumption Control Devices e.g., programmable thermostats, energy monitoring device 2-7
Verifiable tenant education by landlord
Staff amendment, points to be determined.
Water Efficiency Measures – Point requirements TBD
Water-conservation appliances 2-8
Showerheads 1-3
Faucets 1-5
Water closets and urinals 4-18
*This list is not exhaustive; please refer to NGBS for complete list.
**Points are shown in ranges. The ranges refer to various factors such as efficiency of equipment or 3rd party inspectors.

Phasing Options for Compliance

1. Date Certain: All properties comply by December 31, 2012.
2. Two rental license cycles to comply
· First rental cycle: At time of renewal*, property owner can:
o Purchase four years of carbon offsets at a predetermined rate and amount OR
o Property demonstrates compliance
· If purchase offset option was chosen, property must demonstrate compliance with the code at the time of renewal of the following rental cycle.
· No spending threshold would be included in this option.
*If renewal is due within one year after the ordinance is effective, a one–year, temporary license will be available.

3. Spending threshold until compliance
· Property owner must invest $1,000 (per multi-family unit)/$2,000 (per single family unit) until compliance is achieved. As an alternative, offsets may be purchased at a rate 0.175 tons per point.
§ Offsets example: At 0.175 tons/point and a code requirement of 20 points, 3.5 tons/year would be the required purchase amount. At the current Colorado Carbon Fund rate this would equal $3.5/point which would equal $280 for a four year rental cycle.
· Maximum of one rental cycle of offset purchases allowed without some building improvement investment.

4. Spending threshold until compliance – no offset time limit
· Property owner must invest $1,000 (per triplex or greater multi-family unit)/$2,000 (per single family unit) until compliance is achieved. As an alternative, offsets may be purchased at a rate 0.175 tons per point.
§ Offsets example: At 0.175 tons/point and a code requirement of 20 points, 3.5 tons/year would be the required purchase amount. At the current Colorado Carbon Fund rate ($20/ton CO2) this would equal $3.50/point which would equal $280 for a four year rental cycle.
· Offsets can be purchased for an unlimited number of rental cycles.

5. Participation threshold until compliance - “2 techs approach”
· Property owner must participate in the city’s “Two Techs and a truck” program which will buy the property owner a prescribed standard of basic upgrades (*see below for sample list); the materials will be purchased at a competitive rate and will be installed by a third-party certified contractor or may be able to be installed by the property owners maintenance contractors where applicable.
· As an alternative, offsets may be purchased at a rate of 0.15 tons/point.
i. Offsets example: At 0.175 tons/point and a code requirement of 20 points, 3.5 tons/year would be the required purchase amount. At the current Colorado Carbon Fund rate($20/ton CO2) this would equal $3.50/point which would equal $280 for a four year rental cycle.
· Maximum of one rental cycle of offset purchases allowed before participation in the “Two techs” program
· Property is compliant once upgrades are complete with “two techs” program.

* Prescribed standard of upgrades for “2 techs” option could be:
Items 1-4 required
Lighting > 40 lumens/watt
Air sealing: 0.5 Natural Air Changes per Hour (NACH) or if NACH >1, improve by 50%
Programmable thermostat
Showerhead <> R-38
Wall insulation: Fill cavity
Storm windows or thermal pane glass



[1] Offsets would allow greenhouse gas emissions reductions to be purchased while allowing time for property owners to raise capital to invest in building improvements. If the Governor’s Energy Office Colorado Carbon Fund (CCF) is the offset provider, a percentage of the offset investments would be reinvested in Boulder projects. The current rate through the CCF is $20/ton. The code would allow offsets to be purchased at a predetermined number of tons per dwelling unit. Example: 0.175 tons/point = $3.50/point. 20 points =3.5 tons/dwelling unit; $70/year; $280/4 years
[2] The HERS scale rates homes by the energy performance compared to a baseline 2004 energy code home. The lower the number on the HERS scale, the better the energy performance. The 2004 energy code home is 100 on the HERS scale. The proposed 120 performance level would be 20% worse than the 2004 energy code. New homes in Boulder must be rated between 35 – 70, depending on house size. Further research needs to be completed on the proposed 120 level and its correlation to the prescriptive requirements.



The City will be hosting two open houses this coming week – Mon and Wed (Nov 16 and 18) at the Sr. Center at 9th & Arapahoe. This is designed so that you can drop in anytime during the 4:30-7:30 period to watch a video about the city goal and then talk one on one with city reps in order to voice your opinions. It is suggest that you write up a BRIEF statement of your views on this and bring it with you to hand to the reps. Your voice is less likely to be “dropped” if they have your thoughts on paper.