What is the Home Energy Score? In its simplest form, it is the home equivalent of the MPG comparison for cars. Starting January 1st, 2018, all homes listed in the City of Portland must have a Home Energy Score BEFORE being listed. This includes FSBOs (For Sale By Owners). Homes that are on the market prior to January 1st do not need the score as long as they remain on the market. If you cancel a listing and relist in the new year the home will need a report.
The City Administrative Rules describe the types of properties that require the Home Energy Score. Without retyping the description here it includes all houses and multiplexes, including townhouses and row houses and excludes vertically stacked buildings such as condos. Manufactured homes and detached accessory dwellings (ADUs) are excluded.
The 1 to 10 score is just part of the overall report. Five is the score for the “average” Portland home. Houses below five are less efficient and above five are more efficient. The report also includes the home’s estimated annual energy cost and compares the home’s carbon footprint compared to other similar size homes.
The second page of the report makes suggestions of how to raise the issue score. In the sample report, the home scored a “3”. By following the steps outlined in the report, the home would be expected to score a “7”. This gives the seller a guide of what improvements might make the home more appealing or a home buyer ideas of how they might invest improvement dollars to lower utility costs and increase efficiency.
There are still a lot of questions and details to be worked out. The City believes that the inspection will take about 45 minutes and cost around $250 but the ultimate pricing will be market based- it will be up to the companies doing the inspections to charge what the market will support. One question is whether they will be enough inspectors on January 1st to meet demand. Sellers wanting to avoid the having to have the inspection will have to list before January 1st but that will also assign an MLS # starting with 17XXXX rather than 18XXXX.
There’s a lot more to this so I’ll be following up with more posts (and editing this one to reflect the updates). If you have questions, ask. There are fines for being out of compliance.
This link is to the City Website that outlines the program.