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216C.27 Energy conservation in existing residence.

Subdivision 1. Rules. The commissioner shall adopt rules containing minimum energy efficiency standards for existing residences. The standards shall be appropriate for evaluation of the energy efficiency of each major type of residential housing including, but not limited to, one- to four-family dwellings, apartment buildings, manufactured homes, condominium buildings, and type of ownership. The standards shall be economically feasible in that the resultant savings in energy procurement costs, based on current and projected average residential energy costs in Minnesota as certified by the commissioner in the State Register, will exceed the cost of the energy conserving requirements amortized over the ten-year period subsequent to the incurring of the cost. The costs computed under this section and section 16B.61, subdivision 8, shall include reasonable inflation and interest factors. Subject to the provisions of subdivision 4, with respect to low-rent housing which is owned by a public housing authority or a housing and redevelopment authority as described in chapter 462, compliance with the standards established by the commissioner shall be determined based upon audits conducted by or on behalf of the housing and redevelopment authority or the public housing authority in conformance with the requirements of Code of Federal Regulations, title 24, sections 965.301 to 965.310. Audits which are conducted by individuals other than employees of the housing and redevelopment authority or the public housing authority shall be conducted by evaluators who are certified pursuant to subdivision 6 or section 216C.31. The determination of the economic feasibility of implementation of the standards in low-rent housing shall be made in accordance with the procedures established by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to implement Code of Federal Regulations, title 24, sections 965.301 to 965.310.

Subd. 2. Definitions. For the purposes of subdivisions 3 to 7, the following terms shall have the meanings given them.

(a) "Residence" means any dwelling for habitation either seasonally, meaning all or a portion of the months of November through April, or permanently by one or more persons. A residence may be part of a multidwelling or multipurpose building, but shall not include buildings such as hotels, hospitals, motels, dormitories, sanitariums, nursing homes, schools and other buildings used for educational purposes, or correctional institutions. A manufactured home as defined in section 168.011, subdivision 8, shall be a residence for purposes of this section.

(b) "Applicable energy efficiency standards" means those standards established under subdivision 1 which are not shown to be economically infeasible for the building in question.

Subd. 3. Energy conservation for rental property. Effective January 1, 1980, all residences constructed prior to January 1, 1976, which are renter-occupied during all or a portion of the months of November through April shall be in compliance with standards pursuant to subdivision 1 pertaining to caulking and weatherstripping of exterior joints and sealing of other openings in the building envelope. Effective July 1, 1983, all residences which are renter-occupied during all or a portion of the months of November through April shall be in compliance with all applicable energy efficiency standards.

Subd. 4. Inspection. The commissioner shall conduct inspections on a random basis for compliance with the provisions of subdivision 3. The commissioner may authorize a municipality, with its consent, to conduct the inspections within the municipality's jurisdiction, or to otherwise enforce the provisions of subdivision 3. Any municipality which conducts an inspection or other enforcement program shall have authority under all subdivisions of section 216C.30 to enforce the provisions of subdivision 3; provided that 100 percent of the penalties for violation of subdivision 3 shall be paid to the municipality. With respect to low-rent housing owned by a public housing authority or a housing and redevelopment authority described in sections 469.001 to 469.047, the commissioner or the municipality which conducts the inspection shall submit the results of the inspection to the housing and redevelopment authority or the public housing authority for review. If the housing and redevelopment authority or the public housing authority does not concur in the findings of the commissioner or the municipality, then the housing and redevelopment authority or the public housing authority and the commissioner or the municipality shall select a mutually acceptable independent third party or panel of experts knowledgeable in the area of energy conservation. The results of the inspection, the conclusions of the commissioner or the municipality as to compliance with the standards established pursuant to subdivision 1, and the basis for such conclusions, and the position of the housing and redevelopment authority or the public housing authority and the basis for such position shall be submitted to the independent third party or panel for a determination of the specific energy conservation measures which must be completed for compliance with the standards established pursuant to subdivision 1. The costs of the independent third party or panel shall be paid equally by the housing and redevelopment authority or the public housing authority and the commissioner or the municipality.

Subd. 5. Enforcement after inspection. If the commissioner determines, after an inspection conducted by or on behalf of the department, that a renter-occupied residence is not in compliance with the standards prescribed pursuant to subdivision 1, the commissioner may issue to the owner of the renter-occupied residence or the owner's agent a determination of noncompliance and may commence a contested case proceeding under sections 14.57 to 14.62. The determination shall (1) specify the reasons for the determination, (2) include a copy of the inspection report, (3) state the actions that must be taken to bring the residence into compliance with the standards, (4) state that if the residence is not brought into compliance with the standards within 90 days following the date of the determination, a contested case proceeding will be commenced, and (5) specify a fine that will be assessed upon the conclusion of the contested case proceeding in the absence of a showing of good cause in that proceeding. The contested case proceeding hearing shall be held in the county in which the renter-occupied residence is located. Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 14.50 and 14.61, the administrative law judge in the contested case proceeding shall make findings of fact and conclusions of law and issue a decision, and if the administrative law judge decides that the residence is not in compliance with the standards, the administrative law judge shall enter an order directing the owner to take such affirmative action as in the judgment of the administrative law judge will effectuate the purposes of this section and section 16B.61, subdivision 8.

Subd. 6. Fines for noncompliance; exception. If the administrative law judge issues a decision, following a contested case proceeding commenced pursuant to subdivision 4a, that a renter-occupied residence is not in compliance with the standards prescribed pursuant to subdivision 1 and that the owner of the renter-occupied residence has not proven a good cause, as defined by rule adopted by the commissioner, for failure to comply with the standards prescribed pursuant to subdivision 1, the administrative law judge shall assess a fine against the owner in accordance with a schedule of fines adopted by the commissioner by rule. This subdivision shall not apply in the case of low-rent housing owned by a public housing authority or a housing and redevelopment authority as defined in section 469.002.

Subd. 7. Building evaluator. The commissioner shall certify evaluators in each county of the state who are qualified to determine the compliance of a residence with applicable energy efficiency standards. The commissioner shall, by rule pursuant to chapter 14, adopt standards for the certification and performance of evaluators and set a fee for the certification of evaluators which is sufficient to cover the ongoing costs of the program once it is established. The commissioner shall encourage the certification of existing groups of trained municipal personnel and qualified individuals from community-based organizations and public service organizations. Each certified evaluator shall, on request of the owner, inspect any residence and report the degree to which it complies with applicable energy efficiency standards established pursuant to subdivision 1. The inspections shall be made within 30 days of the request. The commissioner shall enter into an agreement with the Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities for the provision of evaluator training at institutions that offer the technical training. The commissioner may contract with the board to reduce the training costs to the students. The commissioner may eliminate the examination fee for persons seeking upgraded certificates. The commissioner may also establish requirements for continuing education, periodic recertification, and revocation of certification for evaluators.

Subd. 8. Renumbered 16B.61, subd 8

HIST: 1977 c 381 s 18; 1978 c 786 s 2,3; Ex1979 c 2 s 29-31; 1980 c 579 s 9; 1981 c 85 s 5; 1981 c 255 s 2,5; 1981 c 356 s 154-158,248; 1981 c 365 s 9; 1982 c 424 s 23-25,130; 1983 c 301 s 125,126; 1984 c 595 s 1-5; 1984 c 640 s 32; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 258 s 12; 1987 c 291 s 196; 1987 c 312 art 1 s 10 subd 1; 1989 c 209 art 2 s 1; 1989 c 246 s 2; 1995 c 233 art 2 s 56; 1Sp1995 c 3 art 16 s 13; 1997 c 183 art 3 s 27; 2000 c 297 s 3; 2005 c 97 art 4 s 6