A little over a week ago, I tweeted:
I had heard about some soon-to-expire tax breaks to encourage home energy efficiency, drafted an email to my landlord with information about how much he could save through them, and realized that they did not apply to residential rental properties–so I tweeted.
I then thought nothing more of it; little did I know, the Department of Energy was soliciting questions on home energy efficiency that week, to ask Secretary of Energy Chu. His 15 minute interview is on the front page of the Department of Energy’s website. Suddenly today I see this tweet:
The Secretary of Energy answered my question! Not only did he answer it, he spent nearly 3 minutes (almost 20% of the interview) giving a detailed answer (here’s a direct link to 4:30-7:15):
- This is a principal-agent problem, as the economists would say: landlord has no incentive if tenant pays, tenant has no incentive is landlord pays.
- Socialize home energy efficiency.
- All new tenants should ask about previous energy bills.
- Current tenants should ask landlords in a nice way, saying “this would be good for you.”
- Landlords can market apartments as energy efficient.
- Document all energy bills.
Can I just say, the Department of Energy is now my favorite federal agency?
“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”–Native American Proverb
PS: This isn’t here: Dickinson Goodman, Essay 2