There is a growing number of labels, scores, and certifications in the market today that assign a metric of performance to existing and new homes that include energy efficiency features. Some residential scores and labels are national, like Home Energy Score, but many are local or regional, like our friends at Pearl Home Certification (which you can read more about here). In the absence of a federal mandate certifying the energy performance of all homes (similar to many European policies), the private sector has stepped in to capitalize on the growing awareness and demand for homes that have lower utility bills, more comfortable rooms, and healthier living spaces.
The proliferation of scores, labels, and certifications is not necessarily a bad thing. Putting aside the issue of market confusion for the moment, what HPC and others are hoping to do is create a capital market for energy efficiency through the valuation of homes. If homeowners know that the value of their home is increased by energy efficiency improvements, in the same way that it is enhanced by more visible amenities such as granite countertops, they will be much more likely to invest in those improvements.
Demonstrating this “energy efficiency premium” in the marketplace is challenging. It requires the energy efficiency industry to provide realtors and appraisers with high-quality information about a home’s energy efficiency features at the time of listing, and it requires education of all sectors involved in real estate sales. (The City of Portland recently approved a policy to have every home sold in Portland receive a Home Energy Score, or equivalent, at the time of listing).
HPC works with stakeholders in the energy efficiency, real estate, and appraisal industries to advance the accurate valuation of energy efficient homes. We bring transparency and standardization to the market through the development of data standards, like BPI-2101-S-2013 Standard Requirements for a Certificate of Completion for Residential Energy Efficiency Upgrades (BPI-2101), and common reporting templates. BPI-2101 is a nationally recognized protocol that facilitates the transfer of information and data about a home’s energy efficiency characteristics into the real estate value chain. Terms that are defined in BPI-2101 are aligned with HPXML and with the Real Estate Standards Organization’s Data Dictionary and the Appraisal Institute’s Residential Green and Energy Efficiency Addendum, an attachment that appraisers can elect to include in their residential appraisal when completing a high-performance home assignment. This alignment is crucial for ensuring that real estate professionals have access to reliable, high-quality data on a home’s energy efficiency features, either by attaching a BPI-2101-compliant report to an MLS listing sheet or through the automatic population of MLS systems.
HPC is currently updating BPI-2101 to account for new versions of HPXML, RESO’s Data Dictionary, and the AI Addendum. We plan to have a new version released early 2018. We also plan to work with Elevate Energy and the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships next year to pilot the use of BPI-2101.
This article was written by Julie Caracino, Director of Research and Standards at Home Performance Coalition (HPC). HPC is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization that works with industry leaders in the home performance and weatherization industries. HPC collaborates with like-minded organizations to ensure all homes are healthy, comfortable, and energy-efficient. Through projects, policy, publication, online communities, and regional and national conferences, HPC brings together industry leaders to exchange ideas, solve problems and build momentum for the rapidly-growing residential energy efficiency industry.