ENERGY CONSERVATION ORDINANCE
The Energy Conservation Ordinance (ECO) is aimed at reducing energy consumption and costs for rental properties in Gainesville. We hope to propose ECO to the Gainesville City Commission and have it passed early next year. Our proposal is influenced by dozens of similar ordinances all over the country, including San Francisco, Ann Arbor, Las Vegas and Burlington, Vermont. We have chosen to focus on rental properties for two main reasons. First, they are prevalent in our college town. Second, we feel they have the most room to improve efficiency, due to the “split incentive” involved with renting, where the tenant has little reason to make improvements to the property, and the landlord has a financial incentive to spend the least amount of money possible to keep the property habitable. In this way, rental properties end up consuming more than their share of energy and releasing more than their share of carbon dioxide.
The ECO can help break both landlord and tenant out of this cycle by setting down a code for improvement that clearly defines which buildings must be improved, what kinds of improvements must be made, when the improvements must be made, who is responsible for funding the improvements and how the system will be monitored. In order to lessen the burden on landlords, Gainesville Loves Mountains has begun soliciting their input on how best to structure the ordinance. In addition, we hope to work closely with GRU to determine exactly how much energy might be saved, which properties need targeting and what rebates and incentives are available to cut the costs for landlords.We are also soliciting the advice of any and every group we can find that might be interested in helping—from the Sierra Club, to the University of Florida community and the League of Women Voters.
By passing the ECO, we will reduce emissions, cut energy costs and put Gainesville on the cutting edge of the environmental movement and provide substantial economic stimulus, not only by hiring local contractors to improve existing buildings, but also by keeping more money in utility customers’ pockets.
View a copy of our ECO Flyer.