The City of Portland is adopting new rules requiring homes listed for sale (not just with Realtors, but in any public way; craig's list, facebook etc) have a Home Energy Score done by a certified provider BEFORE listing. This will take effect for any new listings starting January 1, 2018.
This is an effort to give houses something similar to the miles per gallon rating we use in evaluating cars. There is proprietary software using an algorithm somewhat similar to that used by the Department of Energy. The evaluation is primarily of the building envelope, and does not consider appliances, nor variations in human behavior. It does look at the efficiency of furnaces and hot water heaters.
The certification for providers is rigorous, with I believe nine providers certified to date, and more in the pipeline. They'll be busy, getting all those houses rated by January 1, 2018. Some providers are home inspectors, adding this to their menu of services. Others are folks who have been doing some sort of energy efficiency work already. Prices have yet to settle out, though it sounds that most will be charging between $200 and $300.
Houses will be rated on a scale of one to ten, one being less efficient and ten more efficient. Houses with scores of five or lower will get recommendations for improving the score, along with an estimate of the new score, should the recommendations be implemented. The report includes estimates of how much energy the home is likely to use and the annual cost.
Since my husband and I are kind of energy nerds, we've already had a Home Performance study done a few years ago. This is a more involved process, using a blower door test and other evaluation methods. For kicks, and so I'll be familiar with the process, I had a Home Energy Score done last week. Our evaluation was done by PDX Hive. The process took about an hour, and they needed access to both our crawl space and our attic.
WE GOT A NINE!!! This was just a draft as the final software product isn't quite finished yet. Our house is a bit over 2000 square feet, built in 2003, with an average gas furnace and gas hot water heater. Being built in 2003, we do have plenty of insulation and double paned windows. In addition, while we have plenty of windows, their placement and size are reasonable. We do not have air conditioning, and we do have 3.36 kW of solar panels on our roof. Once the software is ready, PDX Hive will give me an updated score. I've also asked for what our score would be without the solar panels, as I'm curious.
I'll blog more on this in the near future. If you are selling your house in the new year, you will need the energy score before listing. This is not part of the buyer's home inspection process. Some sellers may choose to complete some of the suggested work to increase their score. I am hopeful the providers will have an efficient way to complete a re-evaluation quickly and at a reduced cost.
Contact me for more information, or with questions. firstname.lastname@example.org 503-312-8038