Warning – This story contains facts, figures, and educated opinions of the writer. Some readers not wanting to grapple with reality may wish to not read any further.
Summary- University of Wisconsin in-depth report on Home Energy Scores –
In any case, evidence to date indicates that mandatory energy ratings can lead to home-value effects that are
incommensurate with the changes in energy costs that the policy was designed to incentivize. And economic
research finds that these home-value effects could be large, with changes in property values potentially on the
order of tens of thousands of dollars.
In other words, the Home Energy Score programs created huge disparities in the market values to homes that are way beyond and not reflected by the amount of energy savings the scores report on.
READ ON: Any of you reading the Herald will know that one of the things we are doing is writing articles that are meant to openly discuss the living conditions we find ourselves in here in the City of Hillsboro. We ask questions and pose ideas about things from time to time, and there is a reason for this. Hillsboro is a prosperous city, and we are offered a lot of nice stuff, including fantastic parks, a state-of-the-art city hall, a sports complex, and world-class libraries. Simultaneously, gentrification, runaway property taxes, traffic, crime, homelessness, and the environment are all trending into dangerous territories. If we do not speak up, who will?
Hillsboro does not have neighborhood organizations- the concept has been shut down for years at City Hall. Most other cities have them, and they provide a powerful voice for the people from around a city. Not in Hillsboro. Individuals we speak to feel disenfranchised and helpless, without a voice. Facebook groups and NextDoor are places where cocerns are often expressed but rarely do they coalesce into action.
At times it seems there are two Hillsboros. One that is as stated in press releases and newsletters and another that is the reality of what we see and experience every day as we scurry about. This may be an imagined reality or perceived by the author. But a genuine part of this statement will play itself out this week within the Hillsboro City Council.
The City is seeking input regarding the plans to pass a mandatory home energy score. The new rules will require the seller of any home in the City to pay for a Home Energy Score. They will be required to provide that score to potential buyers to let the buyers know how they rate on a scale when compared to other homes. Like seeing the mpg on a car, this process will require that every home be rated. Homes without efficiency will be rate low. Modern homes will score higher. In the end, we will all spend a lot of money to expose the homes that do not help the planet.. which hurt the carbon footprint.
To get a higher score, the homeowner can apply the Energy Trust of Oregon’s suggestions and policies to get a higher score. These upgrades cost thousands of dollars and are designed to take homes off of natural gas and oil. An all-electric house with upgraded windows, doors, insulation, solar, etc., is the goal.
Portland adopted this program a few years back, and it has had a mixed outcome. Scoring homes is not a policy nor a path to getting them upgraded. But our Council is going to pass this soon.
We covered this story a few weeks back, and if you want to get your comments to the City, now is the time. Read our story about this and the breakdown we give about why this policy can have unintended consequences.
du-al-ity – an instance of opposition or contrast between two concepts or two aspects of something.
What is about to happen, which this author is opposed to at this time, will happen with the City fully aware of what it is doing. This Energy Score is going to make a lot of folks feel good, and the ones who don’t know any better should. But anyone who is awake will know that as they pass this new requirement on the people, they are simultaneously and knowingly allowing corporations in the city to continue to destroy the environment. We could upgrade every home in Hillsboro and never equal the damage to the carbon footprint that is being done daily in our industrial districts. Read the story – http://hillsboroherald.com/data-centers-replace-jobs-with-machines-as-farmland-rolls-under-forever/
We have asked for transparency and are awaiting answers. But let’s be honest with each other- the people of Hillsboro are being put upon and expected to step up, pay money, and comply with more regulations. At the same time that power guzzling Data Centers are being opened and PAID MILLIONS by our City in tax breaks, we are being charged fees and asked to use less.
The People will be required to Pay and encouraged to use less at the same time Corporations are being paid and most certainly will use more.
Pay Corporations who will destroy the environment and charge the People? This is at one time two Hillsboros.
“Some of the world’s largest data centers can each contain thousands of IT devices and require more than 100 megawatts (MW) of power capacity—enough to power around 80,000 U.S. households (U.S. DOE 2020).”
You will hear talk of how green these companies are. How much green energy they buy. While that is nice, many of the people of Hillsboro do too. And people don’t use so much energy nor so many millions of gallons of water.
So let me lay down the challenge to the Councilors of the City. If you’re going to pass this new regulation on our people, you must find a way to offer tax incentives to our people like those you give the Data Centers. Match your words and concerns with action. Level the playing field. If our people upgrade their homes you can suspend property taxes or offer a property tax credit. Maybe you can suspend sewer and water bills to offset (dollar for dollar) the home’s energy upgrades. If you do not do that then it seems that corporate welfare is being chosen over the people. And the mantra that there is no money for this won’t fly. A lot of it has been handed over the corporations – let’s just cut all that off and use it for these residential upgrades. Cool idea we think!
You will pass this new regulation – we know you will. But when you pass it please condition that passage with more than false promises of potential help to homeowners. Only pass it with an actual commitment to assist- dollar for dollar. No More Duality.