Policy / Requirements

I am selling my home in Portland. Do I have to get a home energy report with a Home Energy Score?

If you are publicly listing or advertising your home for sale in any manner, you need to get a home energy report and Home Energy Score before listing it. If you are selling your home privately, without making it publicly available on the real-estate market, then the requirement does NOT apply to you.

You must get a home energy report and score if your home is:

  • Located within the Portland jurisdictional boundary.
  • Detached single-dwelling unit on its own lot.
  • Attached, such as a row house, duplex, condominium or a townhouse, regardless of whether or not the unit is on its own lot.

Housing types NOT covered by the policy include:

  • Manufactured homes.
  • Mobile homes.
  • Multiple housing units that are vertically stacked, such as two-story fourplex or an apartment building.
  • Floating homes
  • Detached accessory dwelling units.
  • Single-dwelling units used primarily for commercial purposes.

Transactions that are currently EXEMPT from the requirement include:

  • Foreclosure sales.
  • Trustee’s sales.
  • Deed‐in‐lieu of foreclosure sales.
  • 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.

Think your home may qualify for an exemption? Apply here

For exact code language, please see Title 17.108. Please see the administrative rules for further details on complying with the code requirements.

I am selling a new home with an Earth Advantage or Energy Performance Score (EPS), am I required to get a Home Energy Score?

Any previously occupied home, regardless of age or time of occupancy, must obtain a Home Energy Score. A waiver is ONLY available for previously unoccupied, newly constructed homes that receive an EPS™ from Energy Trust of Oregon. EPS is an energy performance scoring tool that provides an estimate of home energy consumption and costs. The waiver is good for 2 years. After 2 years, all newly built homes that received an EPS will need a Home Energy Score. Under the waiver, a home’s EPS report will not be produced or disclosed. There will be a statement in all listings that the home is a high-performance home that has received an EPS.

Think your home is eligible for a waiver? Apply here

When does the Home Energy Score requirement take effect?

The ordinance goes into effect on January 1, 2018. If you are listing or advertising your home publicly for sale on or after January 1, 2018, the requirement applies to you.

If your home was listed or publicly advertised prior to January 1, 2018, and has been continuously listed since, this requirement does not apply to you. However, if you previously listed your house, took it off the market, and are relisting or re-advertising the house on or after January 1, 2018, then the requirement applies to you.

At what point in the real-estate transaction do I need to get the home energy report and Home Energy Score?

You will need to have your home energy report completed and in hand at the time that you want to list or advertise your home for sale. The Home Energy Score must be disclosed at time of listing. This means if you list or advertise your home publicly for sale WITHOUT including the Home Energy Score, you will be out of compliance with the requirement and subject to penalties.

Once I have my Home Energy Score and report, what do I need to do with it? How do I make sure the information gets into the proper places?

The home energy report is intended to be readily available and accessible to any prospective buyer that is shopping for homes in the Portland real-estate market.

The Home Energy Score (the number from 1 to 10) must be included in any listing or advertisement. Home sellers who are working with Realtors are encouraged to ask their agent to incorporate the home energy report and score into the Regional Multiple Listings Service (RMLS) listing. Realtors are the only entities authorized to use RMLS. If your home is listed on RMLS, it must include the Home Energy Score.

If you are not using a Realtor or other licensed real-estate professional, but are using an advertising and posting service like Redfin, Zillow, Trulia or any other third-party service, you must include this information in those online postings where it can be seen by prospective buyers.

The home energy report must be made available to prospective home buyers who visit a home that is on the market. To fulfill this part of the requirement, we suggest that sellers place printed copies of the home energy report in a prominent location in the home, like the kitchen or dining room, where it will be in plain sight of buyers walking through the home.

Can I list my house if I have scheduled a home energy assessment?

No. You will need to have your home energy report completed and in hand at the time that you want to list your home for sale. Scheduling an assessment is only the first phase of obtaining a home energy report.

Do I still have to get a Home Energy Score if I am selling my home myself, without a real estate agent?

Yes. This requirement applies if you publicly list your home for sale in any way (including but not limited to classified ads, Craig’s List, yard signs, etc.)

Am I required to make improvements to my home before listing it for sale?

No.

 

Logistics / How-to

How do I get a Home Energy Score?

Home Energy Scores are produced by authorized home energy assessors. Access the current list of authorized home energy assessors here. We recommend calling at least 2-3 assessors to find the most advantageous scheduling.

How long does it take to get a home energy report?

The in-home assessment takes about an hour. Timing may vary depending on the schedule of the assessor. Note that there are two phases to completing a home energy report. First, there is the day that you schedule to have your assessor come to your house and complete the assessment.

Second, after the assessment, the assessor must enter the data collected and generate the home energy report. This can take a little bit of time. We recommend that you ask assessors during the scheduling call how long they will need to do the assessment and generate your home energy report.

How much will a home energy assessment cost?

The cost will be determined in the market by the home energy assessors. Knowing that it will be market-driven and based on research of other communities with similar programs, we anticipate the cost to be between $150-$250.

What happens during a home energy assessment?

The home energy assessment is conducted by a qualified home energy assessor and takes about an hour to complete. Forty pieces of home information are collected during an assessment. Information about a home’s envelope (foundation, insulation, walls, windows, etc.) as well as its heating, cooling and hot water systems will be entered into energy modeling software. Information about how residents operate the house and non-permanent house features like lighting, home electronics and appliances are not included in the Home Energy Score calculation. Home energy scoring assumes standard operating conditions in order to allow homes to be compared on an apples-to-apples basis, independent of occupant behavior.

For how long is my score valid?

A Home Energy Score is valid for eight years after issue, provided that no home upgrades occur that change the mechanical systems, energy efficiency, or the square footage of the home.

However, if the home energy report is to be used again in a new real estate listing after two years from the initial assessment date, a new report must be reissued so that current energy rates and carbon emissions can be used in calculating the home’s estimated energy costs and carbon footprint. Reissuing a home energy report does not require a new in-home assessment. The homeowner will simply go to the Green Building Registry to download an updated home energy report at no additional cost.

What if my house doesn’t sell?

The good news is that your score is valid for eight years. However, as a means of increasing the salability of your home, you may choose to update your score if you implement any of the energy saving measures recommended in your official home energy report.

How do I find an authorized home energy assessor?

Here is an up-to-date list of all authorized home energy assessors.

How can I be assured that a home energy assessor is authorized to do business in Portland?

Here is a list of authorized home energy assessors. If an assessor is not on this list, they are not currently authorized and you should not obtain a Home Energy Score from them.

Home energy assessors who are authorized under the City of Portland Home Energy Score program must be licensed by the Oregon Construction Contractors Board, undergo rigorous training in the use of the Home Energy Score tool, and are credentialed by the U.S. Department of Energy and Oregon Department of Energy.

I got an assessment but my score has not been provided. What do I do?

The first step is to follow up with you home energy assessor directly. Here is a list of assessors with their contact information. If you are not able to contact your assessor, you may notify the City of Portland for assistance at hesinfo@portlandoregon.gov.

How can I improve my score?

Your home energy report includes a list of practical and cost-effective energy improvements. This is an excellent place to start. If you need help deciding what to do first, non-profit Enhabit offers free 15-minute phone consults with expert home advisors. Call 1-855-870-0049.

The next step is to find a contractor who can do the work. Select a contractor (or two, for comparison) and obtain bids. Check out www.energytrust.org/findacontractor or call 1-866-368-7878.

Finally, financing and incentives are available to help reduce upfront costs. Explore financing options at www.enhabit.org or www.energytrust.org.

If I make improvements to my home, do I need to pay for a new score?

Rescoring your home will require another on-site home assessment by a qualified assessor. Check with your assessor to determine if they will charge an additional fee for this.

Can I make any energy improvements on my own?

There are some easy changes you can make today. Please take advantage of these fantastic community resources: www.energytrust.org/tips and www.communityenergyproject.org/services.

 

Report / Score

Why are the energy costs on my report different from my energy bills?

The information in your report (Home Energy Score, estimated energy usage, estimated energy costs, etc.) is based on your home’s physical characteristics (size, window types, insulation, roof materials, etc.), and its systems (heating, cooling, etc.). Like a miles-per-gallon rating, your actual usage and costs may differ from what your home’s energy report shows, due to differences in how people choose to operate the systems in their homes. The standardized score and energy use estimates allow different homes to be compared side by side on an apples-to-apples basis.

Is my Home Energy Score considered public information?

Yes. Home Energy Scores produced in Portland will be made publicly available through real-estate listings and advertisements. Therefore, these scores and any associated information will not be treated as confidential.

What does my score mean?

Homes will be scored on a ten-point scale, with “1” indicating higher energy use and “10” indicating lower energy use. A score of “5” represents energy use of the average home in Portland. The score is comparable to the miles-per-gallon ratings on cars: it conveys information about a home’s estimated energy use, based on the home’s physical characteristics (size, window types, insulation, roof materials, etc.), and its systems (heating, cooling, hot water heating). Like a miles-per-gallon rating, however, your actual usage and costs may differ from what your home’s energy report shows.

Will my home’s score affect its sales price?

It is unlikely that the Home Energy Score will affect a home’s sales price in the next few years. Over time, we expect Home Energy Scores to drive more investment in home energy upgrades, which should translate eventually into value in the home sale transaction. This would be a good outcome! We want investments in energy efficiency to be valued in the market. This will help accelerate energy efficiency in the residential sector, which is key to addressing carbon emissions in the community.

However, appraisers have been clear that it will take thousands of transactions for the market to recognize and value investments in home energy efficiency. The Home Energy Score ordinance is just one step in a longer market transformation effort.

Keep in mind, the Home Energy Score ordinance does NOT require sellers to make any upgrades at time of sale; the only requirement is to obtain the report and the score and to disclose the information.