Starting January 1, 2018, any homeowners looking to sell their home in the city of Portland will have to first have a home energy audit and make their home energy score public. Although these audits have been available for awhile, they are just now becoming mandatory. Portland wants to increase the energy efficiency of residential properties and give buyers a more informed view of their future homes energy usage.
What Homes Will Have to Have an Energy Audit?
Any homes that are within the Portland City Limits, as well as those in un-incorporated Washington County, will need to have the audit before putting their house on the market. Condos, or any stacked units, are exempt. Townhouses have to have the audit as well, even if the ownership type is techinally a condominium.
How Much Will the Audit Cost, and Who Pays?
As of right now the estimate is between $150-$250. However, as inspectors become more skilled at the audits and more inspectors enter the market, that number will likely go down. The seller is responsible for paying for the audit and providing the results to potential buyers (the Realtor will help with that!)
What is Tested During the Audit?
The inspector will be testing for energy efficiency in the home. They will pay attention to the amount and quality of insulation, the energy efficiency of major appliances and home systems, and how well sealed the home is. They will need to do all of this in an approximately 45 minute home inspection on site. Then, they will compile and analyze all of the data and produce a Home Energy Performance Report.
What Is the Home Energy Score?
The Home Energy Score is the result of the audit. This will be a score from 1-10: 1 meaning the home is relatively inefficient in terms of energy use, and 10 being that the home is extremely efficient. The score is based off a bell curve of average energy efficiency across Portland homes.
What Else is on the Report?
In addition to the score, the report will state an average yearly cost for all energy-related bills. Keep in mind that this assumes very average energy use- it may be higher or lower than what the current homeowner is actually paying. If the score is below a 5, the back page of the report will provide advice, specific to that property, on what can be done to raise the energy score of the house.
As a Realtor in Portland, it will be interesting to see how this effects the market. I can see some issues with the new requirement- one being the potential delay in being able to put the home on the market. There may not be enough inspectors available to do the audit in a timely manner! Also, if a buyer is looking in Portland and the surrounding suburbs only the homes in Portland would have the energy score, which could be confusing. I'm definitely a fan of protecting the earth though, so if this could lead to people doing energy upgrades to make their home more efficient I am all for it!
For more information visit the City of Portland Website.