The Value of an Energy Efficient Home
Sometimes environmentalists need to curb their passion a bit and leave the political arm wrestling to professionals. In this case it was the extension of the "what does 'green' or 'sustainable' really mean" dilemma into the auditing standards that dictate what retrofitting projects qualify for rebates and to what extent. As standards become more stringent, adoption rates plummet from increased confusion and expense, and thus Home Star would be lame out of the gate greenies got all their wishes. Small victories are better than none at all.
New home builders don't want older homes to compete on even terrain as property appraisal standards increasingly shift towards taking efficiency into consideration. By the time we get back to actually building new homes again, energy efficiency will be mentioned in the same conversation about a home's valuation as roofing soundness and the number of bathrooms. New homes are inherently more energy efficient, so politically connected homebuilding giants will do all they can to keep older housing stock from catching up.
The green industry should take some crucial lessons from the current lobbying failure of Home Star, especially the importance of having a unified voice in Washington. Renewable energy groups and energy efficiency organizations need to consolidate their messaging with the understanding that small victories for everyone beat no victories for anyone and that big oil's institutional hooks are dug in deeper than even the direst skeptics care to acknowledge.