Most homebuyers enter into the largest investment of their lives without knowing how efficient or comfortable the house is, and little idea of how much utility bills are likely to be. The Home Energy Score is starting to change that by providing this information to homebuyers when a home is on the market.
Like a miles-per-gallon rating for vehicles, the Home Energy Score is an easy-to-produce rating designed to help homeowners and homebuyers gain useful information about a home's energy performance. Based on an in-home assessment that can be completed in less than an hour, the Home Energy Score not only lets a homebuyer understand how efficient the home is and how it compares to others, but also provides recommendations on how to cost-effectively improve the home's energy efficiency.
Customers want to know more about home energy costs. Multiple Listing Services (MLSs) provide the Home Energy Score to buyers. States across the country are adopting the Score to ensure energy efficiency information is consistent and credible.
Financial incentives make the Score attractive for home improvements. With Fannie Mae's HomeStyle Energy mortgage, borrowers can finance up to 15% of a home's "as completed" appraised value for energy efficiency improvements by receiving a Home Energy Score. Borrowers in this program can also qualify for a stretch on their debt-to-income ratios for homes that score a 6 or higher, or for making improvements to a less efficient home. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has a similar policy that allows larger debt-to-income ratios for high scoring homes. These policies reflect the fact that more efficient homes have lower operating costs.
Homes sell faster with energy disclosure. Homebuyers appreciate having as much information as possible when comparing homes, and the Home Energy Score helps convey this information. One study found that homes disclosing energy costs - even when those costs were high - closed at a higher percentage of the asking price and spent less time on the market than comparable homes that did not disclose energy costs. Read more about this study on Elevate Energy's website.
Home Energy Score
There are many different types of organizations offering the Home Energy Score throughout most of the country. See our Partner Map to see if an organization offers the Score in your area.
Once you have an appointment, a Home Energy Score Assessor will visit your home and collect approximately 40 pieces of data about your home and generate the Home Energy Score. The time it takes to generate a Score varies depending on the Assessor and what services he or she is providing other than Home Energy Score.
If the Home Energy Score is not currently offered in your area or by your utility, we recommend reaching out to your utility or state energy office to see when the Home Energy Score will be offered in your area.