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City takes aim at energy efficiency in rental units

Kelly Sims

The City of Columbia wants rental property owners to make their units more energy efficient. The city's first step is to find out just how efficient – or inefficient – those houses and apartments are.

The City of Columbia is using a survey created by three University of Missouri students to gauge the energy efficiency of rental properties. Neighborhood Services Manager Leigh Britt says tenants pay utility bills but have no control over how efficient their home is.

"That's why this discussion has come up. Do we as a community need to figure out some other ways to encourage rental property owners to find ways to make sure that their property’s more energy efficient?" 

Britt says because tenants do not own the facilities, and owners do not pay the bills, neither is encouraged to invest in making the property more energy efficient.

"There have been some discussions about, you know, should there be some ordinance changes to require energy efficiency, or require some disclosure of energy usage in that unit."

No changes are planned just yet, but Britt says the survey results will inform future discussions. The survey is available through the city’s website until the end of March.