Beginning on January 1, 2018, to sell your single family home in Portland, it will become mandatory that you have a home energy score done prior to listing your home on RMLS.

A home energy score provides home owners and buyers comparable and credible information about a home’s energy usage. The score uses the physical characteristics of the house, (size, window types, insulation, roof materials, etc.), and its systems (heating, cooling, etc.) to convey information about what a house’s estimated energy usage is. The score is NOT based on the homeowner’s current energy use, the number of occupants or the types of lighting and appliances present.

Homes are scored on a ten-point scale, with “1” indicating higher energy usage and “10” indicating lower energy usage. Typically, the larger the home is in square footage, the higher the energy score will be, even if the home being assessed uses all of the latest energy-saving devices. It simply takes more energy to heat and cool larger homes. The average Portland home will score a 5.

This standardized scoring system allows buyers to compare different homes on an apples-to-apples basis so long as the homes are comparable in square footage. The assessments show an estimate of the home’s annual energy costs and will also show buyers and sellers where there are opportunities to make energy-reducing improvements. This will help buyers in planning for long-term cost-effective improvements for homes scoring 5 or less.

Currently, only homes located in the City of Portland are required to comply but other cities may follow suit soon. All Counties in Portland are subject to the assessment requirement. The cost of this test is approximately $250 and the test takes about 90 minutes. The assessment and score are available immediately upon testing completion. Condominiums are exempt from testing, as are bank or corporate-owned listings. For newly constructed homes, the Home Energy Performance Report and associated Home Energy Score may be produced based on design documents prior to the construction of the covered building through a Pre-construction Assessment.

Upon completion of a Home Energy Assessment, the home’s report will be publicly disclosed and available at Realtors are required to input the score and a copy of the report on the RMLS prior to listing the home. Sellers must ensure that printed copies of the report are available and visible to prospective buyers who view the home while it is listed for sale.

The City of Portland does enforce violations of this code, (City Code Chapter 17.108). Upon determining that a violation has occurred, homeowners may receive a written warning notice describing the violation and the steps required for compliance. If the violation is not remedied within 90 calendar days after the issued written warning, a civil penalty of up to $500 may be assessed. For every subsequent 180 day period during which the violation remains, additional civil penalties of up to $500 may be assessed. Penalties are doled out at the discretion of the City Director.

Homeowners can schedule the assessment online at Assessment appointments are typically available within 3-5 days of request. Here’s some more information about what this score entails: