Home Energy Score Partners Driving Demand on West Coast and Beyond
Developed by DOE and its national labs, the Home Energy Score™ provides home owners, buyers, and renters directly comparable and credible information about a home’s energy use. Three Home Energy Score partners are increasing demand for Home Energy Scores in the housing market from San Francisco to Portland, and sharing lessons learned with others around the country.
In California, Alameda County public agency StopWaste helped more than 2400 homeowners obtain a Home Energy Score last year. The voluntary program, coordinated in partnership with the nine-county Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayREN), is one of several such efforts to implement Home Energy Score to measure and improve a home’s energy efficiency. Low-scoring homes in the StopWaste program are referred to BayREN’s free Home Upgrade Advisor service, which helps homeowners take advantage of local rebate and financing programs.
Earth Advantage, an Oregon-based nonprofit focused on residential sustainability, is working with states and local governments to develop and implement several Home Energy Score programs. In 2017, Earth Advantage developed the Green Building Registry® (GBR) for the City of Portland, and has since expanded its use to the rest of Oregon as well as other locations around the country. GBR provides verified home data to the public and multiple listing services (MLS). The platform allows Home Energy Score Certified Assessors™ to verify their assessments in real time. Currently, there are over 25,000 Home Energy Scores from various partner organizations in GBR.
Building on its success supporting implementation of both the City of Portland and State of Oregon Home Energy Score programs, the Portland nonprofit recently released a report on best practices and lessons learned for states to support local home energy labeling efforts. With four recommendations for developing and managing a local energy labeling initiative, Earth Advantage details how Home Energy Scores can help achieve local climate goals while also protecting consumers, increasing the frequency of energy improvements, and aiding home sellers in recouping the investments they make in their home’s energy performance. Together with Rocky Mountain Institute, Earth Advantage also co-led the City Home Energy Labeling Program (City HELP™), providing technical assistance to a cohort of cities interested in establishing residential energy disclosure policies.
City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
The City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability produced the highest number of Home Energy Scores among all partners in 2019. Because it found consumer labeling for homes to be inconsistent and unavailable in most real estate markets, the Portland City Council recognized that requiring Home Energy Scores in real estate listings was the best way to provide consumers with this important information. In 2019, the City produced more than 7,700 scores.
More information on DOE’s Home Energy Score
There are an additional 25 partners working with the Department of Energy to provide homeowners and renters directly comparable and credible information about a home’s energy use. Since 2012, Home Energy Score Certified Assessors™ across the United States have scored close to 140,000 homes by examining the home's envelope (foundation, roof, walls, insulation, windows) and heating, cooling, and hot water systems. After running this data through the Home Energy Scoring Tool, a score is generated based on the home’s total energy use estimate assuming standard operating conditions and occupant behavior. The Home Energy Score report provides recommendations for cost-effective improvements and associated annual cost savings. Home Energy Scores continue to motivate buyers and sellers to improve home energy performance and share the information through critical portals like MLS listings, and eventually in-home appraisals.