The concept of Home Energy Score, or HES, has been around since 2010 as a voluntary tool to give owners, buyers and renters a means for comparing the energy efficiency of a home from a credible source. It’s a topic I’ve discussed in the past, always with some reservations because it can lead to extremely short-term, one-off decisions.

However, as awareness of the program grows and it truly strives to look at the whole house as a system, I am starting to the see the merits. The DOE has done its due diligence to ensure that the system is cost-effective, simple and takes less than an hour to complete in most cases.

It could be a great real estate selling tool – and we’re starting to see some movement toward making it a mandatory requirement.

For example, in late 2016, Portland, Ore., announced its intent to make assessments a requirement when selling a home. The mandate officially goes into effect on January 1, 2018, and according to the city website, will require sellers to:

  • Obtain a home energy report, including a home energy score, from a licensed home energy assessor; and
  • Disclose the score and the report prior to listing a home publicly for sale in Portland on or after January 1, 2018.

This marks the first adoption of HES as a requirement on such a wide scale in the U.S., but many European countries already have mandatory energy audits as part of the selling process so that buyers can compare the energy efficiency of homes as part of the home buying process.

Could others soon follow suit? This move could affect appraisals, giving homes with energy-efficient improvements an advantage in competitive markets.

The View from Here is that as energy efficiency continues to gain attention and support from builders and lenders, consumers will look for indices that will make home comparisons simpler – and HES is a good option.  As stakeholders in the fenestration industry, it could also mean having a valuable selling tool when working with homeowners who have plans to prepare their homes for sale.

Learn more about HES and its requirements.

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