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BPS welcomes comments on proposed home energy score policy

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