Saving money. Saving energy. Energy independence. If the Bend City Council can do all that without forcing residents to do things they don’t want to, it’s a win.
That’s why the climate action plan the council is scheduled to vote on Wednesday should get support.
Is this plan going to help save the planet from climate change? There are people who will tell you no. There are people who will tell you yes. Rather than get mired in a debate about that aspect of the plan, does it make sense for a lot of other reasons? Yes.
It supports more solar energy on public buildings. It supports more renewable energy in general for the community. It supports more use of electric vehicles. It supports more energy-efficient homes. It is not dictating that those things happen. There are more details about it on the city’s website.
Councilors will apparently not include in the plan a mandatory home energy score. The idea in the original plan was to mandate when a home is sold so that a home energy score be available for potential buyers. A home energy score is a rating from 1 to 10 about how energy efficient a home is; 10 is the best. A score can be excellent information for people buying a home. It can give them a fairly accurate picture of utility costs and also where a home could use efficiency upgrades. Making it mandatory would likely promote energy efficiency and save energy and money in the long run.
There’s also a cost to the requirement. It might be $150 -$300, depending on various estimates. That’s not much at all — especially if it is wrapped into the total home price. But another cost is another cost. Councilors apparently want to do more research on the matter before making the score a requirement. One question raised was: Are there enough inspectors to do the job in Bend? Councilors should direct staff to find the answers they need before making a decision on the score part of the plan.