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Home Energy Scores in the City of Portland

Home Energy Scores in the City of Portland

As of January 1, 2018, homeowners in the city of Portland are required to get their home assessed for a Home Energy Score prior to selling their home, and make the score and report available to buyers when putting their home on the market. Here’s some facts about it.

What is a Home Energy Score?
A Home Energy Score is an energy audit that prioritizes energy upgrades and details the cost savings of each upgrade, calculated in a numerical score from 1 to 10. It’s also used as a method of comparing homes based on energy use, like miles per gallon used for vehicle efficiency.

What is Measured in a Home Energy Score?
A Home Energy Score only considers the home’s assets, which include the building attributes, envelope, and equipment. It does not include personal behavior, appliances, or lighting.

Who is Required to Provide a Home Energy Score?
The Home Energy Score must be provided by the seller to all potential buyers, their realtors and the City of Portland while it’s for sale and the score be posted on all listings (MLS, Craigslist, Zillow, Trulia, etc.). There is a $500 fine for noncompliance.

A score of 1 means the home is expected to use more energy than 85% of the homes in the United States, and a score of 10 means the home will use less energy than 90% of homes in the United States (adjusted for climate). The “score with improvements” is the score if all the recommended energy upgrades are completed. A Home Energy Score report prioritizes energy upgrades and details the annual energy savings of each upgrade. The recommendations are specific to each home.

Things to remember about the Score:

  • It only applies to the City of Portland, not Milwaukie, Gresham, etc.
  • It estimates a home’s total energy use, not energy use per square foot. For this reason, if two homes are identical other than size, the larger home will generally score worse than the smaller home. The more volume a home has to heat or cool, the more energy is required.
  • A beautiful 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 “1” does not mean the home is poorly built. Scoring a “10” does not mean the 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.
  • The ordinance does not require sellers to do upgrades or meet any level of energy efficiency, they only need to make it available to potential buyers.
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