I wonder how many homeowners are going to stay Green *UPDATED*

Green is fine if you can be cute about it:  cute little hybrid cars, cute little permanent shopping bags boasting about your green-ness, and cute locally grown arugala.  But is Green still fine if your City requires that, as a matter of law, you spend up to $30,000 to bring your home into compliance with the City’s eco ideas?  ‘Cause that’s what’s happening in Berkeley (emphasis mine):

Berkeley officials Tuesday stood by their plan to require homeowners to make extensive energy efficiency improvements to their homes, but appeared to back off the more costly elements of the proposal.

“Our goal is to get into everyone’s home with a checklist of cost-efficient improvements,” said the city’s planning director, Dan Marks. “But I don’t see us forcing people to spend $30,000.”

Depending on the house and the residents’ energy habits, the improvements could be as little as $100 for caulking and sealant, or upward of $30,000 for a new roof, windows, appliances and furnace.

The upgrades are part of the city’s 145-page Climate Action Plan, which the City Council was expected to approve Tuesday night. In addition to home improvement requirements, the plan calls for a broad range of Earth-friendly programs intended to help the city meet its Measure G goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

The portion of the plan that applies to home improvements sparked an uproar this week from residents fearful the city would require them to spend large sums on new windows and other pricey amenities.

They may have to in the next 10 to 15 years, but probably not now, Marks said.

“Right now we’re talking more in the $10,000 range,” he said, noting that the improvements would only be required when a home is sold or remodeled, but that in the future, the improvements would be required of all homes. “If we’re going to meet these Measure G goals, we’ve got to get into people’s homes.”

Right now, I suspect that some homeowners have taken their little AlGore dolls, formerly placed in positions of honor on their desks and shelves, and are sticking pins in them.

UPDATE:  The Berkeley City Council discovered very quickly that, to the extent it affects their financial interests, people are green only if they want to be green, not if the government forces them to be.  The City has therefore withdrawn, at least temporarily, its plan to invade people’s homes and dictate the details.

Be Sociable, Share!
  • Mike Devx

    Don’t worry, Book, the city will find a way to make the rich pay for it. And until they put it on the rich, thus allowing the middle class and the poor to nod their heads and say, “Oh, OK”, it’ll never go into effect.

    I see a graduated property tax scaled upward. Then the institution of a Poverty Home Improvement Program, where some N number of “poor” homes, that qualify, are upgraded for “free”. Probably at a rate of about a thousand homes per year, or if they get ambitious, they’ll allow home improvement companies to bid, and then they’ll REALLY CRANK UP that graduated property tax.

    Anything for Mother Gaia.

  • Danny Lemieux

    I am sure that Berkeley will eventually price most people out of the housing market, resulting in an influx of even more elitists and an outflow of people that actually provide products and services for a living. Like Palo Alto, for example. Then again, I suppose all those displaced Berkleyites could camp out with the homeless.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com David Foster

    $30,000 may sound like a lot of money, but it actually may be pretty small compared to what this administration’s energy policies will cost families over the next 10 years or so. For many, the increased cost of electricity, heating fuel, and gasoline will exceed that amount. For people in energy-intensive industries, there is likely to be income stagnation at best, and permanant job loss in many cases.

  • Deana

    A couple of months ago, I was talking to a friend of mine who is truly terrified of climate change. She was furious at the Detroit car companies for not “listening to the people” and making greener cars. They “deserved to go under,” she said.

    Leaving aside the reason the car companies are in trouble, I asked why she didn’t buy a hybrid since she had just purchased a new car. She said she had really wanted to but right now, they seemed quite expensive and not cost-saving enough.

    But . . . but. . . but, WHAT ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT???? I mean, if you are truly terrified of climate change and you believe in all this green stuff, what’s a couple of thousand bucks when the safety of the earth and all of humanity is at stake?

    People have a way of becoming practical when people are confronted with actual costs . . .

  • Gringo

    The City of Berkeley’s policies on the one hand say, “We won’t let you make money from your property,” via rent control, and on the other hand say, “But we will make you spend money on your property,” via these energy regulations. Nice contradiction, there from the Self-Righteous People’s Republic of Berserkeley.

    I say this as someone who has wind energy as my electrical energy source, and who also uses AC in Texas maybe 5-6 hours a year.

  • Danny Lemieux

    You meet the most interesting Liberals, Deana. Ask them three questions. ;-).

  • Deana

    You are right, Danny!

    I’ll be ready the next time I have one of these encounters.

  • Dennis Elliott

    I don’t know about you Book, but the scariest part of that story to me is the line, “Our goal is to get into everyone’s home with a checklist…”

  • Deana

    Dennis –

    I KNOW!! I KNOW!! I mean, we’ve heard ad nauseum from those on the left who claimed they didn’t want the government “in their bedrooms” but now, all of a sudden, it’s ok if the government is in the house, telling us what we can and cannot do?

    Scary indeed.

  • Gringo

    The Berserkeley initiative involves energy audits- mandatory, I believe. I have observed voluntary energy audits in two different cities that were sponsored by the local electrical energy utility- both city-owned. One energy audit was conducted by an employee of the utility.The utility brought someone into the house for measurements and observations, who came back several days later with a printout, stating in a very straightforward manner that there were A, B, C….ways in which energy consumption could be reduced, and to what degree, and what it would cost. The Very Model of a Modern Energy Audit, IMHO.Perhaps today the audit could be done in one visit.

    The other energy audit- which the homeowner had also requested from the city-owned utility- was conducted by a private firm that used the audit to pitch the goods and services it was selling. Nothing more. That energy audit was a total waste of time. One could have gotten the same quality by calling an HVAC firm to come to the house to pitch their stuff.

    So when the Berserkely Big Brother City Council tells you you MUST have have an energy audit, you may well be getting a bill of goods like the second energy audit I described.

    I have single pane windows, which would appall many, but since I use the AC in TX but 2-6 hours per year, the extra energy consumed incurred by single pane windows is negligible. Moreover, I keep windows open as much as possible.

  • Tonestaple

    Danny, what three questions? I hope you check this thread – curiosity if fileting this feline.