EXAMPLE in Portland – Home Energy Score
* Beginning Jan. 1, 2018, home seller’s in Portland, Oregon have been required to get a Home Energy Score, or a HERS home energy rating score.
* Must be completed by licensed Home Energy Assessment contractor prior to listing home for sale
* Intended to help meet Portland’s goal of reducing carbon emissions 40% below 1990 levels and help buyers make more “knowledgeable decisions about the full costs of operating a home.
Any building owner or person who fails, omits, neglects, or refuses to comply with the provisions of this Chapter shall be subject to:
Upon the first violation, the Director may issue a written warning notice to the entity or person, describing the violation and steps required to comply.
If the violation is not remedied within 90 days after issue of written warning notice, the Director may assess a civil penalty of up to $500. For every subsequent 180-day period during which the violation continues, the Director may assess additional civil penalties of up to $500.
What Are You Required To Do With The Energy Score?
Provide a copy of the home energy performance report:
To all licensed real estate agents working on the seller’s behalf;
Have a printed copy available to prospective buyers who visit the home while it is listed publicly for sale; and
To the Director for quality assurance and evaluation of policy compliance; and
Include the Home Energy Performance Score in all real estate listings, including the Home Energy Performance Report
Only the Director of the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability or his or her authorized representative, designee or agent can exempt a property from the requirements.
Vertically stacked units (condos) Insider Comment: This exemption allows the dense housing – smart city housing and excludes rural/country unsustainable and sprawl
Buildings used primarily for commercial purposes
A foreclosure sale,
A trustee’s sale,
A deed-in-lieu of foreclosure sale, or
Any pre-foreclosure sale in which seller has reached an agreement with the mortgage holder to sell the property for an amount less than the amount owed on the mortgage.
Undue Hardship Exemptions
The covered building qualifies for sale at public auction or acquisition by a public agency due to arrears for property taxes,
A court appointed receiver is in control of the covered building due to financial distress,
The senior mortgage on the covered building is subject to a notice of default
The low-income qualified seller demonstrates household income is at or below 60 percent of median household income for the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA Metropolitan Statistical Area
The Home Energy Score Report Contains
The home energy performance score and an explanation of the score;
An estimate of the total annual energy used in the home in retail units of energy, by fuel type;
An estimate of the total annual energy generated by on-site solar electric, wind electric, hydroelectric, and solar water heating systems in retail units of energy, by type of fuel displaced by the generation;
An estimate of the total monthly or annual cost of energy purchased for use in the covered building in dollars, by fuel type, based on the current average annual retail residential energy price of the utility serving the covered building at the time of the report and the average annual energy prices of non-regulated fuels, by fuel type, as provided by the Oregon Department of Energy;
The current average annual utility retail residential energy price in dollars, by fuel type, and the average annual energy prices of non-regulated fuels, by fuel type, provided by the Oregon Department of Energy and used to determine the costs described in this section;
At least one comparison home energy performance score that provides context for the range of possible scores. Examples of comparison homes include, but are not limited to, a similar home with Oregon’s average energy consumption, the same home built to Oregon energy code, and the same home with certain energy efficiency upgrades;
The name of the entity that assigned the home energy performance score and that entity’s Construction Contractors Board license number;
The date the building energy assessment was performed
Q. Does this policy harm vulnerable people, like elders on fixed incomes, who may need to sell a home they have lived in for decades?
A. The cost of getting a home energy score is low ($150-$250). The cost of doing an upgrade to increase the total value and selling price of the home, as well as giving the home a better home energy score, ranges from $5,000-$15,000 on average.
The policy will begin to help the market more correctly value homes by clearly recognizing energy costs as a component of the cost of owning a home. In a down market, homes that have below-average home energy scores may not compare as favorably to similar homes that have better energy scores
Q. Will this policy lead to more demolitions of older homes?
A. No. In analyzing all the scores delivered nationwide to date, the U.S. Department of Energy has found a very weak correlation between home vintage and low home energy scores. This means that smaller, older homes will not necessarily score lower than newer homes. DOE found a much stronger correlation between square footage and low home energy scores. This means that larger homes of any age are likely to score lower than smaller homes.
Q. Will this policy help Portland to reduce carbon emissions?
A. Yes. The City of Austin passed an energy audit report disclosure requirement in 2009. The City found that from 2009 to 2011, about 6 percent of homes undertook home energy retrofits as a result of disclosure. To accelerate consumer action in favor of energy upgrades, the City of Austin moved the time of disclosure earlier in the transaction to better inform consumer decision-making. Berkeley also moved its disclosure requirement earlier in the sale process for a similar reason. Portland has learned lessons from the experience in Austin and Berkeley and is thus specifically requiring disclosure at time of listing to maximize the positive benefits of the policy.
OPower (owned by Oracle) provides utility customers with information about their energy use in context to their neighbor’s energy use, similar to the type of comparison provided by the US DOE Home Energy Score. Evaluations of OPower’s business model have demonstrated reliable and persistent energy savings in the range of 1.5-2.5 percent, simply by providing consumers with information on energy use in comparison to their neighbors.