ARTICLE VII. MINIMUM ENERGY EFFICIENCY STANDARDS ORDINANCE

18-500 Title.

This article shall be known as the "Minimum Rental Housing Energy Efficiency Standards Ordinance."

(Ord. of 3-24-97)

18-501 Statement of findings and purpose.

(a)    There exist in the City of Burlington numerous dwellings which are substandard due to the lack of adequate insulation and other thermal performance defects that cause the inefficient use of energy to heat the dwellings. Such substandard dwellings may compromise public health, safety and welfare.

(b)    The efficient use of energy is essential to the economic security and well being of the people of the City of Burlington. Significant opportunities do exist to reduce energy consumption which will result in the lowering of housing costs, stimulation of the local economy and creation of local jobs. Buildings which require improvements to meet these minimum energy efficiency standards may require investments by buyers or sellers. This article is designed to allow property owners to pass on the cost of energy improvements to tenants through increases in rents and any increase in rent that may result from such investment is expected to be offset over time by reductions in energy bills.

(c)    The purpose of this article is to promote the wise and efficient use of energy through cost effective minimum energy efficiency standards for rental dwellings where physically possible.

(Ord. of 3-24-97)

18-502 Applicability.

(a)    This article shall be applicable to all rental properties subject to the Minimum Housing Code. In mixed commercial/residential buildings this article shall apply only to the residential portion of the building. This article shall not apply to owner-occupied portions of a multi-unit building.

(b)    The following properties shall be exempt from meeting the requirements of this article:

(1)    Rental properties not rented between November 1 and March 31 of each year.

(2)    New construction subject to and in compliance with the Energy Conservation Ordinance, B.C.O. sections 8-100 to 8-104

(3)    Hotels, motels, tourist rooming houses, dormitories, hospitals, hospices and nursing homes.

(4)    Buildings or apartments where heating costs are paid by owners of the rental properties.

(Ord. of 3-24-97)

18-503 Certificate of minimum energy efficiency standards compliance required.

(a)    Transfer of property and inspection reports. Upon transfer of rental property where there is a deed recorded, an inspection report, signed by a Vermont-licensed mechanical engineer or an inspector certified by the program administrator, must be filed with the city clerk when the deed is recorded in the land records. The inspection report shall either include a certificate of energy efficiency compliance, if the standards of this article are met, or list the standards not met and inform the property owner that the recruited energy improvements must be made within one year of the date of transfer. An inspection report and certificate shall not be required for the following transfers:

(1)    Transfer of property for no or nominal consideration, including inheritance;

(2)    Transfer of property as part of a divorce settlement;

(3)    Involuntary transfers of property including foreclosures, bankruptcies, condemnations and tax sales.

(b)    Extension stipulation. An extension stipulation to extend the time for the filing of a certificate for a period of time not to exceed two (2) years may be granted by the program administrator where the cost of making energy improvements needs to be spread over more time due to financing constraints.

(c)    Cost effectiveness limitation. Notwithstanding the above, no property owner shall be required to make any specific energy improvement where the cost of making the improvement is greater than seven times the calculated first year savings in energy costs attributable to the improvement. All such calculations must be verified by a Vermont licensed mechanical engineer or an inspector certified by the program administrator.

(d)    Total cost cap. The total cost of energy improvements required under this article shall not exceed three (3) percent of the sale price of the property listed on the property transfer tax return or one thousand three hundred dollars ($1,300.00) per rental unit, whichever is less.

(e)    Exception. Notwithstanding the above, no property owners shall be required to make any specific energy improvement when the specific energy improvement would compromise building integrity or otherwise adversely affect the health or safety of the building occupants. Such a determination shall be made by the program administrator and the city engineer.

(f)    Waiver:

(1)    The program administrator shall grant a waiver for rental properties to be demolished or converted to a nonresidential use within one year of the date of transfer.

(2)    The program administrator shall grant a waiver to the owner of a rental property that cannot obtain financing for energy improvements required under this article. In order to secure such a waiver, the owner must document and prove that good faith efforts to obtain financing have been unsuccessful, including following up on assistance from the program administrator.

(g)    Forms. All forms necessary for administration of the program shall be provided by the program administrator.

(Ord. of 3-24-97)

18-504 Inspection and certification of rental properties.

(a)    Inspectors:

(1)    Energy inspections required pursuant to this article must be conducted by Vermont-licensed mechanical engineers or inspectors certified by the program administrator and the city engineer. Fees for such inspections shall not be regulated by the program administrator.

(2)    The program administrator shall promulgate rules and standards for certification and decertification of inspectors, provide periodic training and administer testing to qualify prospective inspectors.

(b)    Certification of rental properties:

(1)    The inspector shall complete an inspection report on a form provided by the program administrator which shall indicate compliance or noncompliance with the minimum energy efficiency standards of this article. The original inspection report shall be given to the property owner, with a copy to the program administrator.

(2)    If the minimum energy efficiency standards are not all met, the inspection report shall list the standards not met and inform the property owner that the required energy improvements must be made within one year of transfer of the property

(3)    When all the minimum energy efficiency standards are met, the inspector shall prepare and sign a certificate of energy efficiency compliance and provide the original to the property owner, with a copy to the program administrator. The program administrator shall file a copy of the certificate with the city clerk.

(Ord. of 3-24-97)

18-505 Administration of energy efficiency ordinance.

The general manager of the Burlington Electric Department shall be the program administrator for the Minimum Rental Housing Energy Efficiency Standards Ordinance. The program administrator may take such measures as are necessary for the proper administration of this article. The program administrator may delegate his/her powers and duties under this article to an appropriate administrator within the department. The program administrator may charge an administrative fee of fifteen dollars ($15.00) per building payable at the time of recording a deed transferring a rental property except in situations where no inspection report is required.

(Ord. of 3-24-97)

18-506 Appeal.

A party aggrieved by an action of an inspector or the program administrator may request a hearing before the housing board of review pursuant to division 2, article II of this chapter by writing the program administrator within sixty (60) days from the action from which relief is sought. The request shall specify the grounds for the appeal and the relief which is requested. The program administrator shall notify the chair of the housing board of review of the receipt of the notice of appeal forthwith.

(Ord. of 3-24-97)

18-507 Enforcement and penalties.

Any violation of this article shall be subject to civil penalties as set forth in section 1-9(b). Prior to filing a municipal complaint, the program administrator shall send a notice of violation to the property owner. Each day’s failure to comply with the minimum energy efficiency standards as required by this article shall constitute a separate offense. The general manager of the Burlington Electric Department and designated administrators within the department are authorized to issue a municipal complaint for a violation of this article.

(Ord. of 3-24-97)

18-508 Minimum energy efficiency standards.

(a)    Definitions. For the purposes of this section, the following terms, phrases, words and their derivations shall have the meanings given herein:

(1)    A "heated space" means any living space within the exterior boundaries defining the building into which heat is intentionally introduced during the heating season.

(2)    "Attic" means the volume, if any, between the roof and the ceiling over the interior finished space nearest the roof.

(3)    "Box sills" shall be defined as the cavity created by the floor joists resting on the foundation, and the outer band joist.

(4)    "Roof" means the surface on the top of a building which separates the building from the outdoors.

(5)    "Exterior walls" means all walls separating the heated space of the building from the outdoors, or from spaces typically having temperatures during the heating season which approximate outdoor temperatures.

(b)    Standards. These minimum energy efficiency standards shall apply where physically possible and cost effective as provided in section 18-503(c) and section 18-503(d).

(1)    Insulation of exterior walls. All exterior walls with an existing overall effective insulation value of less than R-11 and enclosing an empty cavity of over two (2) inches in depth shall have insulation added to achieve an R-11 overall effective insulation value. In cases where there is insufficient space to add insulation to the R-11 level, as much insulation shall be added as will fit.

(2)    Insulation of open attics/ceilings/roofs:

a.    If existing insulation in open attics (an attic which is unfloored) provides less than an average effective value of R-15, insulation shall be added to bring the average effective insulation value to an R-40 level. In cases where there is insufficient space to add insulation to the R-40 level, as much insulation shall be added as will fit.

b.    The space under the flooring of an unheated floored attic shall be filled with insulation, not to exceed R-40 (see subsection (1) above).

c.    Horizontal attic access panels shall be insulated to an R-20 level.

d.    Vertical attic access panels shall be insulated to an R-10 level.

e.    "Sloped roof cavities" (including "cathedral" ceilings) and knee walls shall be treated as exterior walls (see subsection (1) above).

(3)    Insulation of other areas:

a.    Box sills shall be insulated on either the inside or the outside of the band joist to an overall effective R-10 level.

b.    Floors over basements, crawl spaces, outdoor spaces or spaces typically approximating outdoor temperatures during the heating season, shall be insulated to an overall effective R-19 level unless:

1.    They are already insulated to an overall effective R-11 level or greater, in which case no additional insulation is required;

2.    The basement contains equipment used for space heating, in which case no insulation is required;

3.    The floor assembly encloses a space, in which case the floor shall be treated as an exterior wall (see section (1) above); or

4.    The basement or crawl space is not vented to the outdoors, in which case an alternative method of compliance is to insulate the perimeter of the foundation above grade, and at least two (2) feet below grade, to an overall effective R-10 level.

c.    Electric water heaters shall be insulated to an R-10 level.

(4)    Heating/cooling ducts and piping and domestic hot water piping:

a.    All accessible space heating/cooling ducts in basements or crawl spaces with insulated ceilings, or in attics, shall be insulated to an overall effective R-10 level if less than an effective R-5 level currently exists. Ducts in unheated attics shall have any visible leaks sealed with proper duct mastic prior to insulation.

b.    All accessible space heating/cooling piping in basements or crawl spaces with insulated ceilings, or in attics, shall be insulated to an overall effective R-4 level if less than an effective R-2 level currently exists.

c.    All accessible domestic hot water piping which is part of a pumped circulating loop in basements or crawl spaces with insulated ceilings, or in attics, shall be insulated to an overall effective R-4 level if less than an effective R-2 level currently exists.

d.    All accessible domestic water piping (both hot and cold) within nine (9) feet of the domestic hot water tank shall be insulated to an overall effective R-4 level if less than an effective R-2 level currently exists.

e.    Operation of the heating or cooling air distribution system shall not induce a pressure differential of more than two (2) pascals between the conditioned space and the outdoors, as measured after any other energy improvements are completed.

(5)    Windows and doors:

a.    All windows in exterior walls shall be double-glazed or provided with storm windows during the heating season.

b.    All operable windows in exterior walls shall have functioning latches which close windows tightly.

c.    All doors and access hatches opening to the outdoors, or to spaces which typically approximate outdoor temperatures during the heating season, shall have functioning weatherstripping and latches which close doors tightly.

(6)    Air leakage. All residential buildings shall have:

a.    A leakage rate no greater than one thousand five hundred (1,500) cubic feet per minute at a pressure differential of fifty (50) pascals as tested with calibrated pressurization (or depressurization) air flow measurement equipment; or

b.    A projected natural air leakage rate which is no greater than six-tenths (.6) average annual air changes per hour as calculated by accepted professional practice approved by the program administrator.

Application of this standard shall not require more than that large gaps and holes be sealed to achieve a reasonable airtightness level.

(7)    Combustion appliances and equipment:

a.    All combustion appliances and equipment shall have been tested for operational safety within twelve (12) months, before or after the title transfer date. All health and safety deficiencies identified during such tests shall have been corrected.

b.    All components of a heating system including any pumps, motors, and controls shall be in good operating condition.

c.    The heating system shall be adequate to heat all living spaces as required and defined by the City of Burlington’s minimum housing code.

(Ord. of 3-24-97)

18-509 Implementation.

The effective date of the requirements under this article shall be six (6) months after city council passage of the ordinance. Provided, that this article shall not become effective unless the program administrator certifies that there are financing sources available for energy improvements recruited under this article.

(Ord. of 3-24-97)

18-510 Report.

Reports on the impact of the ordinance shall be prepared by the program administrator six (6) months and twenty-four (24) months after implementation of the ordinance. The report shall be presented to the board of electric light commissioners, the public works commission and the city council.

(Ord. of 3-24-97)

18-511 Phase-in.

(a)    The requirements of this article shall be phased in with the requirements initially applicable only in the Enterprise Community as designated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. A phase-in approach will provide an opportunity to study the impact of the article. The initial applicability will be in the Enterprise Community as that is the area of greatest need with the largest concentration of low income tenants and where heating costs are the most burdensome on tenants.

(b)    The applicability of the requirements of this article shall be expanded to the rest of the city one month after the city council receives the twenty-four-month report. During the intervening month, the city council may do nothing, repeal, halt or postpone expansion or consider amendment of this article.

(Ord. of 3-24-97)