Home Energy Score Policy Adopted by Portland City Council

Portland’s home energy score policy requires sellers of single-family homes to obtain a home energy performance report, including a home energy score, before a home is listed for sale in the City of Portland.

(Portland, Ore.)— City Council today voted to approve Portland’s Home Energy Score Policy aimed at cutting utility bills and reducing carbon emissions. The new policy will provide home sellers and buyers with valuable information on energy use, energy costs and home improvements.

“Home energy scores is another key policy included in Portland’s 2015 Climate Action Plan. Similar to a miles-per-gallon rating on a car, it provides important consumer information that allows prospective home buyers to understand the true costs of owning a particular home. This critical information will lead to safer, healthier, more affordable homes that cause less pollution,” said Mayor Charlie Hales. “This is important progress for Portland’s housing market and climate action goals. This policy will ultimately lead to lower energy costs for homeowners, reduce carbon emissions, and build on Portland’s reputation as an international leader on climate action.” The newly adopted policy follows the Mayor’s recent trip to Mexico City to accept the C40 Cities Award for best climate action plan.

Portland’s home energy score policy requires sellers of single-family homes to obtain a home energy performance report, including a home energy score, before a home is listed for sale in the City of Portland. Sellers will be required to include the home energy score and the accompanying report in any real estate listings and provide a copy of the home energy performance report to prospective buyers who visit the home while it is on the market.

Providing vital information to home buyers

The cost of heating and powering homes is mostly invisible and unaccounted for in the home-buying process. Of Portland’s 160,000 single‐family homes, fewer than two percent have an energy score. Home energy scores convey critical information about energy use and costs to buyers and sellers of homes.

Home energy scores:

  • Allow home buyers to compare energy costs and performance between homes;
  • Provide home sellers with information on money-saving home improvements; and
  • Afford consumers a measure of protection when making one of the biggest financial investments most people ever make.

“I am proud to be a realtor in a community that values information, communication and sustainability,” said Hilary Bourassa, principal broker with Earth Advantage Accredited. “The home energy score policy will help our housing community better understand the total cost of owning a home and will assist in changing the conversation to include healthy and efficient living.”

Said Charity Fain, Executive Director of Community Energy Project, “CEP strongly supports the proposed home energy score policy. For lower income homebuyers, knowing the potential heating and cooling costs is essential when considering whether a mortgage will be affordable. The home energy score program will make this information accessible — and that is of particular value to lower income buyers.”

“We know from our work with thousands of customers over the years that providing details about energy performance empowers homeowners with a tangible value for energy efficiency,” said Tim Miller, CEO, Enhabit. “That value translates into immediate benefits for home comfort, efficiency and health — and recurring climate benefits for their communities.”

Homes that are energy efficient cost less to operate, making these homes more affordable over the long term. Energy-efficient homes also are more livable, more comfortable and healthier.

Helping to achieve climate action goals

Residential buildings account for nearly half of the emissions from buildings in Portland. Portland and Multnomah County’s 2015 Climate Action Plan goal is to reduce local carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050. To meet this goal, Portland must significantly accelerate building energy efficiency.

“A home energy score has been a priority in Portland’s Climate Action Plan since 2009,” said Bureau of Planning and Sustainability Director Susan Anderson. “This vote means that Portland will continue to be among leading cities nationally to implement new and easy ways to reduce energy bills for residents and reduce our citywide carbon footprint.”

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability developed the draft proposal over the last year, with input from real estate professionals, homebuilders, recent home sellers and buyers, energy efficiency practitioners, housing providers, affordable housing and equity advocates and other interested stakeholders.

Jana Gastellum, Oregon Environmental Council’s program director for climate, said, “A home energy score empowers people to make choices that line up with their budget and their values when buying a house. Saving energy means saving money and lowering a home’s impact on the climate. Portlanders value both. Like a miles-per-gallon rating for cars, energy use for a home needs to be part of the conversation when buying. A home energy score and a focus on efficiency are a triple win: better homes, more good jobs, and less climate pollution.”

www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/homeenergyscore

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