The Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) established a new Home Energy Score initiative in 2018 to offer a standardized approach to home energy scoring in Portland. The official website can be viewed here. Home Energy Scores in Portland are meant to help homeowners and homebuyers identify improvements that can be made in order to make a difference in energy savings, comfort, health, and durability of a property. It is my opinion that the system is flawed, but it is one that we must adhere to. Buyers are not choosing to buy homes or not based on these reports. In new homes, they certainly do speak to the standards of the build. In older homes, the home energy score ratings are a bit skewed.
An older home, even if modernized, is generally going to perform poorly on the HES test. This does not mean the home is inadequately designed or inefficient. Old homes are simply old homes! In addition, larger homes will also normally perform poorly simply because of their size. Nonetheless, the HES is a required test in the listing and selling process for most properties within the City of Portland. There are a few exceptions that can be viewed here.
A Home Energy Score (HES) report is comprised of three parts: the Score itself, facts about the home with estimated energy use, and recommendations to improve a home’s score.
This report is an energy efficiency score based on the home’s building envelope, heating, cooling, and hot water systems. A total energy use evaluation, as well as operating estimates by fuel type, assuming standard operating conditions. Recommendations for cost-effective improvements and associated annual cost savings estimates are included. These can be found in a section called; “Score with Improvements” which reflects the home’s expected score if the cost-effective improvements are made.
Home Energy Scores are only required in the City of Portland for detached and attached properties. The seller does not have to provide this to a buyer but they are subject to fines if they do not.
If the HES is not done on a home listed for sale, the City of Portland can impose a recurring fine of $500 every 6 months that it is outstanding, up to $2000. In addition, the city can also require the HES be completed prior to selling.
Additional information can also be found on The U.S Department of Energy’s website. www.HomeEnergyScore.gov