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BPS welcomes comments on proposed home energy score policy

Home energy scores provide home sellers and buyers with valuable information and help keep housing affordable over the long term

Single-family home

On Sept. 6, 2016, Mayor Charlie Hales invited the public to comment on a proposed home energy score policy.

Home energy scores convey critical information about energy use and costs of homes. The costs of heating and powering homes is mostly invisible and unaccounted for in the home-buying process.

Scores, labels and ratings are standard methods to communicate information; miles‐per‐gallon ratings on cars, nutrition labels on food, and Energy Guide labels on appliances help consumers make informed decisions. However, consumer labeling for homes is inconsistent and unavailable in most real estate markets.

Of Portland’s 160,000 single‐family homes, fewer than two percent have an energy score.

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.

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.

The proposal would require sellers of single-family homes to:

  1. Obtain a home energy performance report that includes a home energy score; and
  2. Disclose the information from the report to the City of Portland at or before the time that the home is listed publicly for sale on the real estate market.

The draft policy can be reviewed and commented on at www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/homeenergyscore.

“Home energy scores are a critical step toward making our housing stock more affordable and resilient over the long term,” Mayor Hales said in his September 6 press release. “These scores provide important consumer information that leads to safer, healthier, more affordable homes that cause less pollution. This is important progress for Portland's housing market and climate action goals.”

Portland and Multnomah County’s 2015 Climate Action Plan goal is to reduce local carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050.

Residential buildings contribute nearly half of the emissions from buildings in Portland. To meet the carbon reduction goal, Portland must significantly accelerate building energy efficiency. Enacting a home energy score policy has been a “to-do” in the Climate Action Plan since 2009.

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability developed the draft proposal over several months, 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.

The public comment period will be open until 5 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016.

BPS will hold an open public meeting to present the current draft, answer questions and take additional public comment. The meeting will take place on September 20 at 6 p.m. in the Portland Building Auditorium (second floor).

www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/homeenergyscore

With Comp Plan goals, policies and land use map adopted, City Council considers Zoning Code and Map changes

Public invited to review and comment on “Early Implementation Package,” including new Zoning Code, Zoning Map, Community Involvement Program and transportation bundle

Covers of several implementation project reports

Starting next week, the Portland City Council will conduct three introductory work sessions to learn about the different components of the Comprehensive Plan Update Early Implementation Package, in preparation for public hearings on October 6 and 13 (both at 2 p.m. in City Council Chambers).

Council invites testimony on the Planning and Sustainability Commission recommendations, including:

Following the hearings, Council will hold two more work sessions in late October and November to discuss testimony and possible amendments, before voting to adopt the Early Implementation Package.

What is Early Implementation?

The Comprehensive Plan Update Early Implementation projects update the City’s Zoning Map and Code to carry out the 2035 Comprehensive Plan goals, policies and map designations that were adopted by City Council in June. All of the Early Implementation projects (including Mixed Use Zones, Employment Land, Campus Institutions, Residential and Open Space and more) are now combined into a new Recommended Zoning Map and Zoning Code (see links in bulleted list above).

How can I learn more?

In addition to the links above:

Council Work Sessions

The following are tentative dates for work sessions this fall. All meetings will be held in Council Chambers at City Hall, 1221 SW 4th Avenue. Check the Council website for the most current schedule.  

  • Tuesday, September 13, 9:30–10:30 a.m.
  • Thursday, September 15, 2–4 p.m.
  • Tuesday, September 20, 9:30–10:30 a.m.
  • Tuesday, October 25, 9 a.m. –12 p.m.
  • Tuesday, November 22, 9 a.m. –1:30 p.m.  

How can I provide testimony?

Portlanders can testify on any element of the Early Implementation Package to City Council through the Map App, by email or letter, or in person at a public hearing. Check the Auditor’s website to learn how to provide testimony to City Council.  

City Council hearings on the Recommended Draft Zoning Map and Zoning Code changes are scheduled for October 6 and October 13, 2016, at 2 p.m. Check the City Council calendar to confirm dates, times and location of hearings.  

Did you recently receive a formal-looking notice about your zoning?

Want to learn more about proposed land use regulations that may affect the value of your property? Try one of the drop-in events below.

New zoning proposals for mixed use areas, campuses and institutions, employment land and residential neighborhoods were released last week for consideration by City Council and the public before Council holds public hearings in October.

If you’d like to learn more about how these proposed changes may affect your property, stop by one of the following events and chat with a City planner. There will be no formal presentation, but staff will be available to answer questions about proposed changes. While not necessary, bringing the notice will help staff better address your questions and concerns.

Drop-in Hours

September 19, 2016, 3–5 p.m.
Northwest Library
2300 NW Thurman Street

September 19, 2016, 5:30–7:30 p.m.
St Johns Library
7510 N Charleston Avenue

September 20, 2016, 4:30–6:30 p.m.
Hollywood Library
4040 NE Tillamook Street

September 22, 2016, 4:30–6:30 p.m.
Multnomah Building, Room 100
501 SE Hawthorne Boulevard

September 27, 2016, 4:30–6:30 p.m.
Hillsdale Library
1525 SW Sunset Boulevard

September 27, 2016, 5–7 p.m.
Midland Library
805 SE 122nd Avenue

Have questions but can’t make it? Call the Comprehensive Plan Helpline at 503-823-0195.

Or visit: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/71486.

Make nutrient-rich compost at home

Adding food scraps to composter

Composting turns your yard trimmings and vegetable scraps into a nutrient-rich soil amendment for your garden. When used as mulch, compost will reduce your need to water. Use it to enhance the soil, to make a potting mixture, or to add mulch around plants and shrubs. 

For Portland residents who want to create their own compost, you can set up a home-based system to capture both scrap materials for your backyard pile – and still include the food for your green Portland Composts! roll cart.

Toss yard debris and vegetable scraps in your backyard composter to get you started – and keep meat, grains, dairy and bones in your green curbside roll cart.

The basic ingredients for compost are “browns,” “greens,” air and water. Browns—like fall leaves and woody materials—are high in carbon, an essential energy source for microorganisms in the compost. Greens—like grass clippings and fruit and vegetable trimmings—are high in nitrogen, an essential nutrient for the decomposer organisms.

Get tips for backyard composting success at Metro. Find resources, including how to make your own compost bin, purchase one at a local garden center or from Metro at reduced rates.

Have more questions about backyard composting?
Contact Metro at 503-234-3000 or find more information online.

Need help with curbside composting?
Find videos and tips at www.portlandcomposts.com