Nick Krautter Talks about Portland’s Home Energy Score Proposal on Xray in the Morning

by | Dec 12, 2016 | Market Reports, PDX News

Nick Krauter weighed in on Portland’s home energy score on Xray in the Morning last Wednesday. The bill was scheduled to be voted on December 7th. The bill is intended to increase consumer awareness, and lower Portland’s carbon footprint over time. Homeowners looking to sell their houses would be required to get a home energy score before putting their house on the market. This costs approximately $150.

What is the Home Energy Score?

The Home energy score tells you how energy efficient your home is. Homes are scored from 1-10, with 10 being a perfect score, and 1 describing a very energy inefficient home. The score will help show buyers how much it will cost to heat, how much other utility bills will be. Especially with older homes in Portland, people are often surprised by how high their utilities are and may struggle to afford them. The energy score may help buyers to know if they can really afford the house payment and the monthly expenses.

How is the score determined?

The energy audit determines the energy efficiency of a home based on the structure of the home. For example factors like insulation and windows will affect how much energy will have to be used in the home to heat it. The score describes how well the features of the home will work together to create an energy efficient space.

What’s the Downside?

Nick weighed in on some of the potential downsides of the bill.

The bill isn’t just about consumer awareness. It’s  intended to lower the carbon footprint on Portland residential homes. It’s supposed to do this by forcing sellers to get an energy score rating before they can sell their homes.This could lead some to homeowners making improvements, put it could have some unintended consequences.

Many of the homes in Portland are very old. It’s safe to say that many of these homes will receive a low energy score. This will likely lower home values, and sellers would have to make improvements to increase their home value. This might not cause too much harm right now in a seller’s market, but it won’t stay this way. The real estate market is cyclical, and eventually home prices will drop and this bill could be very hard on sellers.

Making upgrades in this older homes will also be very expensive for sellers.  It could cost as much as $20,000 to $40,000 to adequately improve the home’s energy score. All this just to save less than $100 a month in utilities. Also keep in mind that money spent on improvements may not increase the home value enough to cover the costs.

Nick also pointed out that if you are looking to buy a home, you can get a home energy score done as part of your inspection.  In fact much of a regular home inspection covers an asset base survey. This covers the efficiency of important items like your heating system, windows, water heater, etc. You can also request previous utility bills to see exactly how much it cost to live in the home.

Nick also suggested that it may be more effective to provide incentives for to make homes more energy efficient.

Do you think sellers should have to provide a home energy score when selling their home?

Listen to the radio show here. The energy score proposal segment spans from 34:00 to 1:04

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