When Shaun Donovan first mentioned the idea to me shortly after taking over as Obama's housing secretary, it sounded completely commonsense and reasonable.
"When you buy a car," he said, leaning across the table for emphasis, "you know very clearly what the energy efficiency of the vehicle is because there's a number on the window. It says, 'Here's the gas mileage.' But we don't know that" when we buy a house, even though it's a much larger expenditure.
Most houses come with no stickers, no ratings and no disclosures about how big a fuel guzzler the property is, and how that might compare with other houses on a rating scale.