While mucking through large sections of the U.S. House passed Waxman-Markey bill, I stumbled upon an interesting little tidbit that could change the industry’s standard operating procedures. All sections, titles, and legal jargon aside, the bill - if passed - will require everyone to have the structure they live in, work in, etc., audited for energy efficiency. Once audited, incentives will be provided according to the percentage amount of energy efficiency improvements made. These incentives will last for the first few years and after that, everyone will just have to live without the major incentives and absorb all of the energy rating and efficiency improvement cost.

This shouldn’t sound too unfamiliar. California has been practicing this concept with its Home Energy Rating System (HERS) for quite some time. Having certified raters on staff is how much of California does business. That leaves the contractors in the other 49 states something new to look into this fall. Taking heed that the bill has not passed yet, federal energy rating standards for all structures is something worth putting on the HVACR contractors’ business radar.

The requirements are not just for new buildings, they also apply to existing structures, both commercial and residential alike. Having studied the pending health care and climate legislation bills, I have decided that whether the industry agrees with the politics or not, some or all of these bills will most likely eventually exist in some shape or form. It is my opinion that early adopters will be at a competitive and financial advantage.