Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

Planning and Sustainability

Innovation. Collaboration. Practical Solutions.

Phone: 503-823-7700

Curbside Hotline: 503-823-7202

1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201

More Contact Info

Subscribe to RSS feed

Most Recent

View More

City of Portland Home Energy Score requirement beginning soon

Program provides new insight into energy use and costs of Portland homes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 16, 2017

CONTACT:
Andria Jacob Senior Manager, Energy Programs and Policy
503-823-7616
andria.jacob@portlandoregon.gov  

City of Portland Home Energy Score requirement beginning soon

Program provides new insight into energy use and costs of Portland homes

Know the score. Outsmart energy waste. www.pdxhes.com  

PORTLAND, Ore. – The City of Portland Home Energy Score ordinance will take effect on January 1, 2018, requiring sellers of single-family homes to disclose a Home Energy Report and Score at time of listing. Portland City Council unanimously adopted the policy (Portland City Code Chapter 17.108) in December 2016. This new policy will require people publicly selling single-family homes to obtain a Home Energy Report (which includes a Home Energy Score) from an authorized Home Energy Assessor. Complying with the policy takes two simple steps: getting the Home Energy Score and showing the Home Energy Score in any listing or public posting about the house.

Like a miles-per-gallon rating for a car, a Home Energy Score is an easy way for sellers, buyers, real estate professionals and builders to get directly comparable and credible information about a home's energy performance across the housing market.

In advance of the policy taking effect, the City of Portland Home Energy Score website is now live at www.pdxhes.com.

  • For sellers, the website explains the necessary actions for completing the requirement and answers questions about logistics, how to get a home assessed and how to improve scores.
  • Buyers are guided through the Home Energy Report and are prompted to wrap energy improvement projects into financing.
  • Real-estate professionals can learn how to make the new policy work effortlessly for their clients and how to post scores online.
  • Builders can find information about how to obtain a score based on construction plans and possible exemptions and waivers.
  • The website is also a place to find out how to become a Home Energy Assessor.

Portland is the second city in the country, behind Berkeley, California, to approve a local ordinance requiring homes to be scored. The Home Energy Score and the Home Energy Report must be provided in any real-estate listings, such as RMLS, and must be made available to prospective buyers. Portland is the first city in the US to require energy scores this early in the home-buying process.

The adoption of the Home Energy Score ordinance is part of an effort to reduce carbon emissions in Multnomah County by 80 percent by 2050, outlined in the 2015 Climate Action Plan. Residential buildings contribute nearly half of all emissions from buildings, and while voluntary efforts have already made a difference, this policy will accelerate change and provide consumer insight and protection.

“A Home Energy Score lets buyers ‘see inside the walls’ of a home they're considering for purchase, making the full costs of homeownership more visible to prospective buyers,” said Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler. “Cutting the energy costs of housing is one of the smartest strategies to keep housing affordable over the long term. Beyond lowering energy bills, energy‐efficient homes are more comfortable and have better air quality. I’m proud that Portland is taking a stand for consumer protections and climate action—making it easier for people to save energy, protect against rising energy prices in the future and reduce carbon pollution.”

The scores will be produced by third-party Home Energy Assessors authorized by the City of Portland and Earth Advantage. The growing list of authorized professionals can be found at www.earthadvantage.org/pdxhes/assessors.html. The price of the Home Energy Report is determined by the private sector, but Home Energy Assessments in similar programs in other communities range in price from $150 to $250. In 2018, the City will offer free Home Energy Scores for income-qualified sellers.

The Home Energy Assessment takes about an hour, and 70 pieces of information about insulation, windows, appliances and more are observed and recorded. As soon as the data from the assessment has been entered into the software, the Home Energy Score and Report will be available. Homes will be scored on a ten-point scale. If a home scores a 5, it is expected to perform comparably to an average home in Portland in terms of energy use. If a home scores a 10, it ranks among the ten percent of homes expected to use the least amount of energy. A home scoring a 1 is estimated to consume more energy each year than 85 percent of homes. Homes that have received a Home Energy Score will be viewable at the Portland Green Building Registry.

No action is required by the seller beyond providing the score and report in listings and in the home while it’s for sale, but if sellers or buyers are interested in making energy improvements, the nonprofit Enhabit offers free consultations with expert home energy advisors. For low-cost, do-it-yourself ways to cut energy waste, increase comfort and lower energy bills, Energy Trust of Oregon provides resources at www.energytrust.org/tips.

For more information, visit www.pdxhes.com, or contact hesinfo@portlandoregon.gov  or the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability at 503-823-5771. 

###

New Portland State University study confirms a large supply of older, more affordable apartments exists in the region – but they are being sold

Research makes the case for preserving them when planning for new transit investments.

Rising rents are no longer news in the Portland metro region. And as greater Portland grows and becomes a more desirable place to live, the need for housing will continue to push housing prices upward.

That’s why the cities of Portland and Tigard are trying to get ahead of this demand as planning continues for much-needed transportation investments in the Southwest Corridor. The two cities are developing a SW Corridor Equitable Housing Strategy, which will include preserving some currently affordable housing along the corridor as part of a broader housing strategy.

To inform the housing strategy, Portland State University was commissioned to analyze market trends and demographic information across the region and within the SW Corridor. The analysis looks at the trends in apartment sales and rents from 2006-17, focusing on how they affect vulnerable populations — renters who are lower income, people of color and/or with disabilities.

Titled Preserving Housing Choice and Opportunity, PSU’s report focuses on what the authors term “naturally occurring affordable housing” — or NOAH. A shorter executive summary of the report is also available.

“Most low- to moderate-income renters are living in naturally occurring affordable housing,” stated report co-author Lisa K. Bates, PhD, Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Urban Studies in the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning. “This is housing that is not subsidized or regulated. It's subject to the market when it comes to rent going up or the building being sold, renovated and leased at a higher price.”

NOAH in the SW Corridor

According to Dr. Bates, there are roughly 11,400 of these lower cost, older rental units along the Southwest Corridor. These units typically are more modest with fewer amenities. Many of them are in buildings with 100 or more apartments. 

“The loss of these kinds of units is exacerbating the housing crisis in our region, and preserving their affordability is an important component of a strategy to ensure that the new light rail provides access and opportunity in an equitable way,” Bates said.

Tigard Community Development Director Kenny Asher stated, “Many Tigard residents are in danger of being priced out of their neighborhoods and losing connections with their schools and social networks. The cities of Tigard and Portland are working together with regional stakeholders to find an equitable way to bring much-needed transit to the SW Corridor without increasing housing costs even more.”

Some findings from the report include:

  • Ninety-three percent of existing apartment buildings in the SW Corridor are considered naturally occurring affordable housing or NOAH.
  • Many apartment buildings in the SW Corridor have been sold in recent years, and the pace is increasing, with sale prices of this type of housing have climbed by 274 percent.
  • Two-thirds of NOAH sales in the SW Corridor are in low-income census tracts, and nearly 40 percent are in racially diverse areas.
  • Many cities and regions across the nation have developed innovative funding solutions to acquire NOAH and preserve its long-term affordability, some with a specific focus on locations near transit.

“Fortunately, we have promising examples from other cities who have made the holistic investments in both housing and transit,” said Ryan Curren, SW Corridor Equitable Housing Strategy Project Manager. “Light rail could serve so many households who need good quality transit the most if we can muster the resources to preserve some of this housing near future stations in the Southwest Corridor.

Housing crisis is real for many

Most of the Portland region’s low- and moderate-income residents live in NOAH apartments. Preserving the stock of this type of housing is important for the stability of these low-income renting households as higher income renters move to the area. It is also important to address because the loss of NOAH means a reduced ability for vulnerable populations to access new transit.

Amina Omar, a Somali refugee with four children, speaks from experience. “I first moved to Portland in 2005 and then to Woodburn in 2015, when my family needed more space. When I left Portland, things were much cheaper. Finding a place was easier. Rent was not that bad, but now rent is up in the sky.

“We moved back to SW Portland in May of this year. Nowadays, landlords ask if you make three times the money for rent. Three-bedroom apartments that used to be $1,000 to $1,300 are now $1,700 or more. The rising rents impact families, but if you have assistance like Section 8, that helps a lot. If I had to pay everything on my own, I would have to work three jobs just to survive, and I would have no time left for my children or for myself.”

Background

The City of Portland has responded to the citywide housing crisis by declaring a State of Emergency, which prompted the inception of several programs, projects and land use plans to address the shortage of housing for middle and lower income residents.

One of these initiatives is the SW Corridor Equitable Housing Strategy, which focuses on the area around the proposed alignment for the new light rail line and other public investments from Downtown Portland to Bridgeport Village. With funding and staffing support from Metro, the cities of Portland and Tigard are partnering with community groups and institutional partners to leverage a major public transit project with housing policies and investments so all people — regardless of race, ethnicity, family status or disability — have a range of affordable choices of where to live.

The PSU report provides a deeper understanding of the housing dynamics throughout the region and the SW Corridor. With this new information, staff at the City of Portland and Tigard and advisory group can more accurately plan for and develop an equitable housing strategy for the area, with the goal of preserving as much naturally occurring affordable housing as possible while also creating new housing for residents of all incomes.

For more information, visit www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/equitablehousing

Still time to comment on the Residential Infill Project amendments

Public comment period for the Discussion Draft extended to Thursday, November 30

Since the release of the Residential Infill Project Discussion Draft, dozens of community members have attended the kick-off meeting, one of the five drop-in office hours or any of the various meetings staff have been attending since the proposals were published on Oct. 3, 2017. This outreach period is focused on familiarizing community members with the detailed amendments in preparation for the Planning and Sustainability Commission and City Council hearings next year.

We have heard that the November 20 date is making it more difficult to prepare feedback due to the timing of several organizations’ monthly meeting schedules. So we're extending the comment deadline to the end of the month (November 30) to give people more time read the draft proposals and submit their comments. Please note: This is not the last chance to be heard; formal public hearings will be held with the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) in the winter and City Council in the spring of next year.

Review the Discussion Draft materials

The Residential Infill Project Discussion Draft materials include:

  • Project summary – 8-page color summary of the 12 proposals of the Discussion Draft with maps and illustrations
  • Volume 1: Staff Report and Map Amendments – includes project overview and introduction, analysis of proposals, as well as the methodology for creating the Housing Opportunity Overlay – the new ‘a’ overlay
  • Volume 2: Zoning Code Amendments – the actual regulations
  • Volume 3: Appendices – includes Guidance from the Comprehensive Plan, FAR Background, R2.5 Catalog, Visitability Best Practices, Map Refinements, and Historically Narrow Lot Background 

Parcel-specific information that shows which amendments will affect individual properties is available through the Map App – an interactive online map.

How to comment

Comments are due by November 30, 2017.

You may submit comments on the Discussion Draft in several ways:  

City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
Attn: Residential Infill Project
1900 SW 4th Avenue, Suite 7100
Portland, OR 97201

How will my comments be used?

Comments on the Residential Infill Project Discussion Draft will be directed to City staff, who will use the feedback as they develop a proposal for the PSC. This Proposed Draft will be considered by the PSC early next year, and Portlanders will be able to give formal testimony on the Proposed Draft at that time.

For more information

Please contact:

Historic Landmarks Commission to Deliver Annual Report on November 29th

The 2017 “State of the City Preservation Report” outlines Historic Landmarks Commission priorities for changing public perception, adding housing units, and inventorying historic resources.

Among their many recent approvals, the Historic Landmarks Commission supported an infill project that will add 60 new housing units to the Alphabet Historic District. Rendering courtesy Atomic Sky and Emerick Architects. Every fall, the Portland Historic Landmarks Commission delivers their annual “State of the City Preservation Report” to the Portland City Council. The report is an opportunity for the all-volunteer commission to highlight their recent activities, identify priorities for the coming year, and celebrate notable rehabilitation and infill projects approved by the commission. This year’s report will be delivered Wednesday, November 29th at 2 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Portland City Hall. The presentation is open to the public and testimony will be accepted.

The 2017 report focuses on numerous Historic Landmarks Commission priorities including changing public perceptions, addressing the housing emergency, and updating the citywide Historic Resources Inventory. The report’s authors state,

The Portland Historic Landmarks Commission, in partnership with City Council, must continue to be proactive advocates of maintaining and refining protections for designated properties, as well as working to assure that these protections are available to and benefit all Portland citizens. We can advocate for our City’s collective history by supporting the Historic Resources Code Project, as well as working together to make informed decisions that are equitable and long-term in thinking.”

Among the Commission’s primary themes in the report is a renewed call for an update to the Historic Resource Inventory (HRI). The report states,

For over ten years, the Commission has been calling for a citywide update of the 33-year-old HRI to provide an accurate public record, include areas and property types not previously surveyed (East Portland, Modern-era buildings, landmarks associated with communities of color, etc.), and develop a tool to inform sound land use planning decisions. Following concerted advocacy from BPS staff and the broader preservation community, statewide land use Goal 5 was amended in February 2017 to remove regulatory barriers to updating local inventories. Portland now has full jurisdiction to make good on the PHLC’s repeated calls to update the inventory.”

Additional priorities noted in the report include:

  • Promoting and incentivizing the seismic upgrade of unreinforced masonry buildings
  • Exploring the possibilities of a State Rehabilitation Tax Credit
  • Maintaining existing state-level protections for designated historic properties
  • Advancing affordable housing options in historic buildings and districts

The 19-page “State of the City Preservation Report” is available for download as a PDF.