On December 14, 2016, the Portland City Council unanimously adopted an ordinance requiring home energy scores for single family homes listed for sale. This innovative new policy will help Portland create jobs for its home performance contractors and assessors, reduce carbon emissions, and help the city's consumers save money on energy. The Home Performance Coalition (HPC) collaborated with the Home Performance Guild of Oregon (HP Guild), Earth Advantage, and other stakeholders to support the Ordinance’s passage.
HPC is an alliance of like-minded organizations working together to ensure all homes are healthy, comfortable and energy efficient. HPC’s project research strengthens the residential energy efficiency industry. Portland’s new Home Energy Score Ordinance (HESO) will provide information to home buyers on the home’s energy performance so that they can make more knowledgeable decisions about the full costs of operating homes prior to purchase. HESO will help drive consumers toward local residential energy efficiency programs, such as Energy Trust of Oregon and Enhabit, which incentivizes investments in home improvements that lower utility bills, reduce carbon emissions, and increase comfort, safety, and health for home owners.
Buying a home is the largest investment many of us will ever make, but “most houses are sold without consideration of the home's energy performance,” said David Heslam, the Executive Director of Earth Advantage, a Portland-based nonprofit organization that participated in the city's policy development process. “The scale of this policy represents a great opportunity for local real estate and lending professionals to consider it every time a home is put on the market, make it part of their daily activities, and allow home buyers and sellers to make the most out of home performance.”
“Home energy use ratings provide visibility into the amount of energy a home uses and the monthly costs of that energy,” said Don MacOdrum, Executive Director of the HP Guild. “We believe it is a consumers right to know who much energy a potential new home will consume. We also believe it is essential that new home owners understand their home’s energy performance when they move in, just as they are getting ready to make major upgrades in their new investment”.
Historically, information on a home’s energy performance has not been available to home buyers. However, over the last several years, as consumer interest in energy efficiency as a valued feature of residential properties has grown, HPC, Earth Advantage, the HP Guild of Oregon, as well as other organizations, have been working with realtors and appraisers to make information about home energy efficiency readily available for property listings. This includes the development of labels and scores as well as standards and information technology (IT) solutions that allow for quicker and more automated transfer of home energy data to the real estate community. HESO marks a major step forward on providing consumers with the information they need to make informed decisions on home purchases.
For more information on HPC’s efforts on home energy labeling research please visit: www.homeperformance.org. HPC’s current activities include:
The new year promises to be an exciting time for HPC as we continue to work with our partners to make home energy efficiency visible in the real estate transaction.
- Julie Carcino and Joe Cullen
Julie Caracino is the Home Performance Coalition (HPC)'s Director of Research & Standards and Joe Cullen is HPC's Director of Policy & State Outreach.