Beginning on January 1, 2018, homes that are listed for sale in the City of Portland will be required to receive a Home Energy Score, which provides comparable and credible information about a home’s energy performance. The home energy score is required to be included in all home listings, and a printed copy be made available for potential buyers and agents visiting the home.
Why is the City of Portland requiring a home energy score?
This program is designed to enable more knowledgeable decisions about the full costs of operating homes and to motivate investments in home improvements that lower utility bills, reduce carbon emissions, and increase comfort, safety and health for homeowners.
What happens to non-compliant sellers?
Any seller who does not comply may be fined up to $500.
What is included in the home energy score report?
The report includes the following:
- home energy score,
- estimated annual energy consumption and costs,
- a list of cost effective recommendations to save energy and money, and
- the predicted score if all recommended improvements are installed.
Visit our home energy score report page for more information about what is included, and how to read the report.
What does the home energy score mean?
The home energy score is like a “miles per gallon” rating for homes. It uses a 1 through 10 scale where a 10 represents the most energy efficient homes, and a 1 represents a high energy consuming home.
How is the home energy score determined?
A home energy score is determined by an assessment and energy simulation conducted by a certified home energy assessor. Home energy score is an "asset" score which means it focuses on the structure and systems in the home. An asset score assumes that an “average” occupant lives in the home. Therefore, actual behavior related to lighting, appliances, and thermostats is not included in the calculation of the score. Also, the estimated energy consumption is calculated based on the "average" occupant and will not match the actual utility bills.
The home energy score is generated using a simulator developed by the U.S. Department of Energy. Home Energy Score PDX, creator of Energy eScore (TM), is a verified software partner of the U.S. Department of Energy and the City of Portland.
What can be done to improve the home energy score?
The home energy report will include a list of cost effective recommendations for improving the score, but some common options include:
- Air sealing the home
- Insulate and seal ducts
- Add insulation to the attic and crawl space
- Upgrade to ENERGY STAR rate heating and cooling
- Install a heat pump water heater
How long is a home energy score valid?
A Home Energy Score Report is valid for 8 years after issue, as long as there have not been major home renovations that change the mechanical systems, energy efficiency, or the square footage of the home. If the home is listed for sale again after 2 years from the initial assessment, the report must be reissued to update utility rates and carbon emission rates. Reissuing a home energy score report does not require a new in-home assessment.
Is the home energy score public?
Yes, home energy scores and reports are stored in a City of Portland public database called the Green Building Registry.
Are all homes in Portland covered under this rule?
A home energy score is required before listing the home for sale, if:
- located within the City of Portland's jurisdictional boundary, and
- detached and on its own lot, or
- attached through a common-wall from foundation to roof (e.g. townhouse, row house, duplex, etc.)
What is the start date of this requirement?
The City of Portland Home Energy Score ordinance will take effect January 1, 2018, requiring single-family homes listed for sale to include a home energy score and report. This requirement does not apply if a home has been continuously listed since before January 1, 2018.
Are there exemptions?
Yes, there are several exemptions (e.g. foreclosure sales, trustee's sales, etc.) Check the latest version of the home energy score policy Administrative Rules for a full list of exemptions. Applications for exemptions can be submitted through the City of Portland website.
Is there financial assistance for income-qualified sellers?
Yes, home sellers at or below 60% of median household income are eligible for free home energy scores. Applications for income-qualified free home energy scores can be submitted through the City of Portland website.
Do other cities require a home energy score?
Yes, several U.S. cities have passed similar home energy score policies for the residential real estate market, including Austin, Texas; Berkeley, California; Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Boulder, Colorado.
What is required in the home energy score code?
According to Portland City Code Chapter 17.108, the seller of a home in this jurisdiction is required to provide the following:
1. The City of Portland Home Energy Score and Report directly to potential home buyers.
2. The City of Portland Home Energy Score and Report through property listings, like those found in the Regional Multiple Listing Service (RMLS).
What is the additional City of Portland fee?
The City of Portland and the Home Energy Score Program implementer, Earth Advantage, charge an additional $25.00 fee for each home energy score assessment to provide quality assurance on 5% of the scored homes each year (U.S. Department of Energy requirement).