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Real Estate 101 - What is an ECAD?

March 21, 2018 | By Schuyler Williamson

Selling a home that’s 10 years or older and served by Austin Energy? In Austin, that means you are required to undergo energy audits before the sale of your property. The Energy Conservation Audit and Disclosure Ordinance (ECAD) requires properties within Austin and served by Austin Energy to undergo energy audits before the sale of the property.  

Traditionally audits are seen as negative but an ECAD audit could potentially help with a return on investment because it can help you identify opportunities for making your home more energy efficient.

Energy efficient homes have short and long-term benefits for homeowners, including:

  • Increasing the value and marketability of the property
  • Improving indoor air quality and reducing energy consumptions
  • Saving money on utility bills
  • Rebates available if you decide to make any improvements to your home 


Why the Energy Conservation and Disclosure (ECAD) ordinance? ECAD improves energy efficiency by requiring energy disclosures that uncover energy improvement opportunities. Residential customers must have an energy audit conducted on their homes prior to sale if their homes are 10 years old or older.

What is a residential building? The Energy Conservation Audit and Disclosure (ECAD) ordinance defines a residential building as having four or fewer units.

Do I need an ECAD audit if I get my electricity from Austin Energy but live outside the city limits? No.The ECAD ordinance applies only to properties within the Austin city limits that receive electricity from Austin Energy

Is my condominium affected by the ordinance? Yes. Individual owners selling their condominium must have an energy audit done as a residential customer under the ECAD ordinance.

How old must my home be to require an ECAD audit if I sell it? Residential homes 10 years old or older may require an ECAD audit before being sold. ECAD calculates the age of the property by using the calendar year of construction as determined by the county appraisal district.

ECAD Audits

What must I provide to a potential home buyer to show that I had an ECAD audit? Home sellers should be prepared to disclose details pertaining to their exemption or provide a copy of the ECAD audit three days before the end of the option period or at the time a contract is executed if there is no option period.

When do I need to have the energy audit done? The City and Austin Board of REALTORS® recommends the ECAD audit be conducted far enough in advance of the end of the option period or contract signing to meet this requirement.

Do I need an energy audit if I am selling a property with multiple units and state law doesn’t require an option period? Yes. If there isn’t an option period in the sales contract, the property seller is required to provide the energy audit to the property buyer before the contract is executed.

Can I use a multifamily energy audit done for my condominium owners association when I sell my condo unit? Yes, if there is one available for the entire property.

What if I sell the house without an audit? Non-compliance with the ECAD ordinance is a Class C misdemeanor with fines of up to $500 and $2,000. Reported violations will be forwarded to the City of Austin Municipal Courts for complaints to be filed, review, and action.

How long does an ECAD home audit generally take? An ECAD audit takes about two hours for an average 1,800-square-foot home and one hour per 1,000 sq ft.

What home components does an ECAD auditor evaluate? The ECAD auditor evaluates the home’s windows, window shading, attic insulation, air conditioning and heating system, low flow toilets, and the air duct system.

What information is included in the ECAD home audit report? Attic insulation’s condition and estimated R-value, Percentage of air leakage from the duct system, Number of windows receiving more than one hour of direct sunlight, Estimated air conditioning system EER (Energy Efficiency Rating) value and general condition of the mechanical system, Recommendations for improving the home’s energy efficiency.

How much does an ECAD home audit cost? The ECAD audit was designed to keep the cost under $300 for a typical single-family home 1,800 square feet or smaller with a single air-conditioning system. Auditors set their own prices, which depend on the size of the home.

What can I provide a potential home buyer to show that I completed energy efficiency improvements? Austin Energy provides homeowners with information about the energy efficiency improvements a home has received through Austin Energy programs. To assist homeowners with past program history, call 512-482-5346 or email Austin Energy with the home’s address and their telephone number.

 View a full list of ECAD Auditors here


At Williamson Group, we guide each listing client through the ECAD process.  We have a great track record of selling homes and would love the opportunity to share with you how we would sell yours for top dollar. Send us an email at Schuyler@wgrouprealestate.com or give us a call at 512-437-1059 anytime!


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