Why are newly constructed homes required to comply with the Home Energy Score policy if they are already more energy efficient?

The Home Energy Score is intended to compare energy use between homes. Newly constructed homes may be more energy efficient than existing homes, but many new homes also have larger square footage and energy systems, such as air conditioning, that increase the energy use of the home and therefore impact the score. The U.S. Department of Energy has analyzed 694 newly constructed homes with the Home Energy Scores and found that new homes scored across the 10-point scale, with only half of new homes scoring 8, 9, or 10.

With newly constructed homes disclosing the Home Energy Score, buyers will be able to better understand energy use in new homes and compare energy performance between new and existing homes on the real estate market. Overtime, the ability to compare between new and existing homes will encourage homebuilders to build high performance new homes and help those homes stand out in the real estate market.

What if the house I am building is going to be certified by a different agency?

Certifications are different from energy scores. Regardless of whether a home has a certification, such as LEED, all homes listed for sale in the City of Portland are required to disclose a Home Energy Score and compliant Home Energy Report in the real estate listing or advertisement.

Is there a difference in compliance for code built new homes verses high performance new homes?

Yes. Code built new homes are required to comply with all aspects of the Home Energy Score requirement. The program rules allow for code built new homes to receive a Pre-construction Assessment, where the Home Energy Score and Home Energy Report are produced based on construction plans. The homebuilder will need to hire an authorized Home Energy Assessor to produce the Home Energy Score and Home Energy Report prior to listing the newly constructed home for sale. The score and report will need to be included in all real estate listings or advertisements for the home. The Home Energy Report will also need to be available at the site or in a model home.

Homebuilders working with Energy Trust of Oregon to build EPS™ homes may apply for a High-Performance Home waiver that will temporarily exempt the builder from certain aspects of the Home Energy Score requirement. The waiver allows homebuilders currently using EPS on high-performance newly constructed homes to temporarily continue the use of EPS. There will be no change in process for these builders in timing or verification of the EPS for two years, through December 31, 2019. However, homebuilders will need to include a statement in their real estate listings or advertisements for the home that acknowledges the receipt of a High-Performance Home waiver. All listings and advertisements for the new homes that obtain the High-Performance Waiver will need to include the statement: “This home is an Energy Trust of Oregon EPS home. This high performance new home was built to perform better than the Oregon Energy Code and therefore the builder has been granted a waiver from the City of Portland Home Energy Score program requirement."

A builder may qualify for a “high performance home” waiver as a participant of the Energy Trust of Oregon’s New Homes Solutions program. This program uses the Energy Performance Score to document above-code energy performance in new homes. The City of Portland Home Energy Score program website will include info for homebuilders to learn more about the process to comply with HES requirements and submit electronic applications for the High Performance New Home waiver. More information about the Energy Trust of Oregon New Homes program can be found at https://www.energytrust.org/residential/new-homes-solutions/

How do I qualify for a "high performance home" waiver?

There are two different pathways to verify qualification:

  1. For homebuilders who exclusively build high-performance new homes receiving an EPS: the builder will sign and submit a waiver request to the City of Portland Home Energy Score program attesting that all new construction homes built during two-year waiver period will receive an EPS. Energy Trust will support these builders in applying for the waiver. The waiver request must be received by the City of Portland at least 10 business days before listing a newly constructed home for sale.
  2. For homebuilders who build some high-performance new homes receiving an EPS, but also build some homes to the standards set by the Oregon energy code: the builder will sign and submit a waiver request to the City of Portland Home Energy Score program, including the City of Portland Property ID numbers (RXXXXXX), attesting that each high performance new home will receive an EPS. The request must include individual properties identified by address and City of Portland Property ID number, either batched on a single waiver request or individual waiver requests. Property ID numbers need to be included for any subdivided lots. Energy Trust may support these builders in applying for the waiver for their EPS homes. The waiver request must be received by the City of Portland at least 10 business days before listing a newly constructed high performance home for sale. Code-built new homes are required to comply with all requirements of the City of Portland Home Energy Score program.

What will high performance new homebuilders be required to do after the two-year waiver?

Energy Trust of Oregon will be working to integrate the Home Energy Score into the EPS process for newly constructed high-performance homes. By the end of the two-year waiver, homebuilders working with Energy Trust to construct EPS homes will receive a City of Portland Home Energy Score program-compliant Home Energy Report along with their EPS score sheet. The timing for completion of the EPS and HES score will change from post-construction to a pre-construction assessment based on construction plans. Builders will be required to have post- construction verification of installed energy efficiency features.

What if I am going to sell a home before I build it?

If the home is sold on the real estate market and advertised for sale then it does require a Home Energy Score. The home can be issued a Home Energy Score based on design specifications. A home energy assessor will calculate the score based on these construction documents without an onsite inspection. The home energy report will note that it is a “pre-construction” assessment.

What if I sold the house before January 1st, 2018 but haven’t started or completed construction?

If the house is sold prior to January 1, 2018, a Home Energy Score is not required.