What is the chief barrier limiting the sale of sustainable homes?

(These excerpts are my responses to moderated questions at CaGBC Green Home Summit)

Consumer Demand. Consumer Understanding. Desire and Understanding why.

How can we overcome this barrier?

The most effective way to move this market is to get the Real Estate industry to own the consumer protection associated with energy efficiency ratings for houses. The CHBA is in favour of mandatory time of sale energy ratings, why is the real estate industry so resistant?

The MLS in Canada does not contain the data fields for building ratings. Voluntary uptake to include this in listings has been negligible. 

Implementing a mandatory time of sale home energy rating is the most effective solution to this problem. There are methods to do this while being sensitive to the Ontario Real Estate Association's Concerns. 

As an interim measure, having mandatory new home/condo energy ratings in sales centre, or at time of custom build would demonstrate builder industry leadership and be a step in the right direction. 

This is simple consumer protection, like having a miles per gallon rating on a car, an EnergyGuide on an appliance or salt content on packaged food.

Ontario has had the legislative power to do this since 2003 (conservation Act).

Regional economic competitiveness is affected by the energy related cost of living

It is irresponsible for the home building and selling industry to empower consumers to "choose to prioritize a high performance house" when we, the builders and marketers, are responsible for educating them about how to measure quality and value.