Oregon Home Energy Score News and Updates By City

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How Home Energy Scores Got Started In Oregon

The city of Portland enacted its Home Energy Score (HES) Program in 2018 to help reduce CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050. Portland is one of the first US cities to do it, second only to Berkley, CA. A year later, the Oregon Department of Energy partnered with Earth Advantage, a green home certification nonprofit, to create a standard home energy scoring system that can be adopted voluntarily statewide. Earth Advantage also manages the Green Building Registry, a database where buyers and sellers can access the HES reports.

 Since 2019, the cities of Bend, Hillsboro, and Milwaukie have joined in with their versions of the Portland program. All four cities require sellers to list a recorded score before listing a home for sale on the MLS. Eugene, Corvallis, Ashland, and Hood River are discussing whether they should make it mandatory. ​

So are the programs working? What changes have come up since their debut? Here are all the updates on the HES program in 2024.

Are Oregon’s Home Energy Score Programs Working?

Portland is the first city in Oregon to publish the results of the HES program. A 2022 City Council Report by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) states that 20,000 HES assessments were completed.

The report included the results of surveys sent to homeowners who purchased homes in Portland in 2018 and 2019. Buyers mentioned their preferences for prioritizing homes with higher scores and/or used the score data to determine their overall energy costs before purchasing. Buyers also referenced the score during purchasing negotiations.

The demand for home energy scores is also growing across the country. As of January 2024, The Green Building Registry has collected 3 million records nationwide since its beginnings in 2017. Earth Advantage’s Executive Director David Heslam expects strong number growth to continue. “Looking forward, as more homes are built to high efficiency levels and many others get retrofitted, we foresee the data from over a million homes a year being shared by our partners through the GBR.”

Latest Oregon Home Energy Score News Per City

Here is the latest information on the Oregon Home Energy Score programs statewide.

Portland Home Energy Score Program – Active
Portland May Approve HES Requirements for Rentable Properties

With the positive feedback on the HES program thus far gathered from the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) in 2022, Portland is looking to expand the HES program to rentable properties. As of 2024, a final decision is still pending. There currently is no requirement in Oregon for rentals to have home energy scores, so if this comes to pass it would be the first.

Corvallis Still Re-evaluating Its Previously Approved HES Requirement

On June 21, 2022, the Corvallis City Council voted 5-4 to approve a home energy score requirement with a start date of April 1, 2023. But before April 2023, on November 21, 2022, the ordinance was voted down to evaluate the program further. As of 2024, a special council is still discussing the matter.

Eugene is Awaiting Approval on Its Mandatory HES Proposal

Milwaukie enacted its mandatory energy scoring program in 2020 with the goal of reducing total emissions by 35% by 2035. Their program is a near mirror image of Portland’s and is currently active.

What is the Home Energy Score (HES)?

HES is a scoring system indicating a home’s energy usage. The scoring follows a ranking system from 1 to 10, with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best. A score of 5 means the home is average in its energy use compared to other homes in the city. A score of 10 means the home is in the top 10% of homes using the least energy. A 1% score means the home uses more energy than 85% of homes.

How Can You Obtain and Improve Your Score

You can obtain your score by working with a home energy score company. You can improve your score by installing solar, using energy-efficient windows, doors, appliances, and more. Special federal rebates and financial incentives are available to assist with upgrades.

To learn more details on obtaining a score, improving it, and rebates and financial incentives, visit Orderhomeenergyscore.com.

Benefits of the Home Energy Score Program

The program highlights energy usage to combat CO2 emissions and help residents save on utility bills. The score also helps keep costs down for upgrades.

According to Oregon.gov, an Oregonian is considered “energy burdened” when their household’s energy-related expenditures exceed 6% of their income. In some Oregon counties, nearly half of the residents earning 200% or below the Federal Poverty Level are energy-burdened. Owners can use the score documentation to secure federal lending for more affordable home upgrades. The report is free for income-qualified applicants.

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