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City of Portland Home Energy Score requirement beginning soon

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. 

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