Home Energy Score: Expanding beyond Portland in 2021

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In 2018, the City of Portland began requiring that home sellers obtain a Home Energy Score Report before listing a home for sale in the city. This report, much like a miles-per-gallon rating on a car, allows home buyers to compare homes by energy efficiency. 

As Portland home sellers gradually began scoring the city’s housing stock, buyers became accustomed to seeing the information included with the listing details for a home. Milwaukie created a similar Home Energy Score requirement in 2020, other cities across the state have begun considering making the Score mandatory in their jurisdictions, as well.

Given that most of the housing stock in the region is older, with many homes in dire need of energy upgrades, the policy makes sense. Home Energy Score assessments are a low-cost, public resource; together, they comprise a digital repository of information on how homes in Portland are performing. From this, we’ve already gained some valuable insights, such as the most common upgrades recommended by the Report. Maybe someday the Home Energy Score will be standard in real estate transactions nationwide. Before that happens, though, some cities are taking matters into their own hands.

Milwaukie, Oregon now requires Home Energy Scores

In 2016, the City of Milwaukie took a Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory. It found that 18% of CO2 emissions generated locally by the community were coming from residential buildings. Curbing this source of emissions will go a long way toward helping Milwaukie achieve its 2035 goal of reducing total emissions by 35%. 

The first step for Milwaukie was to design a mandatory Home Energy Score policy, which it implemented in 2020. As in Portland, the Score must be complete and publicly available before the home can be listed for sale. It doesn’t apply to manufactured homes, mobile homes, detached ADUs or vertically stacked condos (same exclusions as Portland). There are fines for non-compliance, but homeowners can apply for exemptions or low income assistance.

Hillsboro Proposes Home Energy Score Policy

In late 2020, the City of Hillsboro opened a public comment period to obtain input on a proposal to make Home Energy Scores mandatory in its jurisdiction. Comments are being accepted until February 21, 2021. Based on the information currently available, the policy under consideration appears to be identical to the policies in Portland and Milwaukie. 

More cities on the way?

As the state’s fifth-largest city and the second-biggest suburb of Portland (after Gresham), Hillsboro’s decision to make Home Energy Scores a required part of the home-selling process could have the power to tip the rest of the Metro region toward creating similar policies.

An official report from the City of Portland in 2020 noted that Beaverton was also considering a Home Energy Score policy, but no official announcement has yet been made. Meanwhile, home sellers across the Metro area are getting the Score anyway, responding to buyer demands for more transparent information on home energy efficiency. 

Need a Home Energy Score?

Getting a Home Energy Score is easy — simply schedule a one-hour appointment with any authorized service provider. Earth Advantage keeps the official list of Assessors authorized by the State of Oregon to provide Home Energy Scores. We recommend OrderHomeEnergyScore.com, they service Portland, Milwaukie, and future Oregon cities for a reasonable price, with easy online ordering and excellent service.

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