Are you or someone you know considering selling your home after December 31st, 2017?
Chances are yes, eventually...so no matter what chapter of homeownership you are in, you're going to want to listen up! The City of Portland has issued a mandated Home Energy Score Assessment and Report* to be provided by the sellers of single-family homes and townhomes starting January 1st, 2018 within the Portland jurisdiction.
What is it? A Home Energy Score (HES) is the measurement of energy efficiency a home has based on an onsite evaluation of the physical characteristics of the house and where it is located on a scale of 1-10. It's similar in concept to the MPG ratings for automobiles. The score is not determined by current energy usage influenced by occupant behavior.
A low score doesn't necessarily mean your home is poorly built. A nice home with up-to-date equipment can still get a low score if the square footage is high or if there is insufficient insulation. A low score just means there is significant room for improvement to reduce a home’s energy use. Scoring a 10 does not mean your home cannot improve. Even a home that uses less energy than most of its peers may benefit from additional energy efficiency or renewable energy investments.
How does it work? The process begins with A Home Energy Assessment conducted by an authorized Home Energy Assessor. The assessor collects a variety of information on a home's permanent features like structure -- foundation, insulation, walls, windows, as well as its energy appliances -- heating, cooling, hot water systems. The whole process takes about 1-1.5 hours to complete and averages about $250 (this number is an average, not an exact amount -- it varies by home and vendor). A Home Energy Assessment is valid for up to 8 years.
Then you'll receive the Home Energy Score Report, which includes the current score out of 10, an estimated yearly energy cost, and a list of practical energy improvements with an estimated score if the whole list is completed. The report is valid up to 2 years and can easily be renewed online with up-to-date cost analysis. Here's a sample of what the report card looks like:
Why is this so important? The City of Portland's goal is to significantly reduce carbon emissions by ensuring we're taking steps in the right direction. Less energy use = smaller carbon footprint. In addition, there is the added benefit of the long-term ROI on energy bills, making homes healthier by reducing allergens, and overall added comfort in the home. The purpose of the Home Energy Score is to provide a credible and easily understandable summary of a home's energy efficiency, with a list of suggested improvements to increase your score over time.
What that means for sellers:
- This is essentially a disclosure requirement for sellers, with negative consequences (fines) for not providing it. It should be done BEFORE you list your home for sale.
- This is not part of the buyer inspection process, you are expected to already have this completed.
- The report will be included on RMLS and any other real estate listing site.
- Exclusions: Any stacked level living i.e. multifamily units, apartments, condos, -plexes with too many variables in an accurate measurement. Exemptions are also possible for some scenarios, including foreclosure and trustee sales through an application. If you're unsure if your house falls within the jurisdiction, you can enter your address here to find out.
What that means for buyers:
- More readily available information to help you when you're choosing your next home. The intent of the HES is to create a standardized side-by-side comparison of homes' energy efficiency the way people compare style, neighborhood, and price.
- There's not necessarily a right or wrong answer when looking at the report. It all boils down to personal preference similar to buying a car. Some people value style, some people value miles-per-gallon. The choice is yours.
Do it NOW. We've all seen roll-outs of new programs that have been problematic at first. There are only a few certified HES companies, and they have not yet become efficient with these assessments. Get ready to hear the stories from your friends who want to publish their listing and cannot because they're still waiting for their energy assessment. Don't wait for the bottleneck.
Got questions? Want more info?
Give us a call or shoot us an email, we want to help make this as easy as possible for you!
503.222.4300 | MyAgent@PortlandHomeTeam.com
* Conducted by the U.S Department of Energy, Oregon Department of Energy, City of Portland, and Earth Advantage.