Did you know that in January 2018, a new ordinance went into effect in the City of Portland that requires sellers of single family homes to obtain and disclose a Home Energy Report? Here is everything you need to know about this requirement - what it means, who is required to provide one, and how it effects you as a buyer or seller.
What is the purpose of this requirement? According to Portland's Home Energy Score Program, the purpose of this is “...to make energy performance in residential buildings transparent, to enable more knowledgeable decisions about the full costs of operating a home, to motivate energy efficiency investments in homes that lower utilities, to reduce carbon emissions, and increase comfort, safety and health for home owners.”
What is a Home Energy Report? It is an explanation of the U.S. Department of Energy Home Energy Score that is assigned to the home after a professional assessment. The report estimates the energy-related use and the associated costs, and provides cost-effective suggestions to improve the home’s efficiency.
Who is required to provide a Home Energy Report? Currently, this requirement applies only to single family homes in the City of Portland. It's not as simple as looking at your mailing address, though. To find out if your home or a home you are interested in purchasing qualifies for this requirement, enter the address onto www.portlandmaps.com and look at the "jurisdiction" field (located below the "neighborhood" field). If the jurisdiction states City of Portland, the home is subject to this requirement. The report is required to be provided at the time of listing the home, so it must be completed before a home is put on the market.
My home meets the requirements. How do I obtain a Home Energy Report? When you decide to sell your home, you will need to schedule an energy assessment. Consult this website to obtain a current list of certified Home Energy Score Assessors. I suggest calling a couple of different companies as they are independent and their prices do vary slightly. The assessment itself typically takes about an hour to conduct, and the assessor will need access to the inside of your home. They will then put together the report and provide you with a copy - if you already have a realtor, ask the assessor to send them a copy at the same time so it can easily be included when your home is listed on the market. The assessment typically costs between $150 - $300.
A home I am interested in purchasing meets the requirements. How do I access the home's report, and how do I interpret the report? If a home meets the requirements, a link to or copy of the report legally must be posted as part of the listing. If you are having trouble locating it, consult your real estate agent. Once you have the report, I suggesting visiting this website for advice on how to read the report and what key information you should be looking for. You can also ask your realtor to help you interpret the report results. These reports are a great tool for buyers as they not only provide detailed information about the energy costs associated with running the home, but they also give recommendations on things that can be done to improve the energy efficiency of the home and even specify which improvements would pay for themselves in savings over a ten year period. Very useful information that can aid in decision making depending on how long you plan to stay in the home.
How long is a Home Energy Report valid for? Reports are valid for 2 years. After that, portions of the report must be re-assessed and updated. If any changes that could effect energy efficiency have been made to the home since the original report was generated, a new assessment and new report are required.