Exemptions to the Portland Home Energy Score Policy

exemptions home energy score

Portland’s home energy score policy, which went into effect in January 2018, applies to residential homes in the City of Portland. But the law does leave out certain, very specific types of homes. These homes make up a subset of Portland’s total housing “pie”, but as home energy assessors we do get asked the question: “Do I really have to get an energy score?”

As defined in the Final Interim Administrative Rules of the Portland Home Energy Score Policy, a “house” or “covered building” is any structure containing at least one dwelling unit. There is no square-footage exemption — the law applies to all homes regardless of size.

What about attached dwellings, such as attached homes, townhomes, or rowhomes? If it has both a foundation and a roof, it needs a home energy score report before going on the Portland real estate market.

On the other hand, detached accessory dwelling units (ADUs) — your classic Portland tiny house in a backyard, converted detached garage, etc. — do not need a home energy score report. When the property goes on the market, the main house is required to have the report, but the ADU does not have a separate report.

What about condos? If the condo is stacked vertically, meaning it doesn’t have both a foundation and a roof, it does not need a home energy score in Portland under the current policy. If the condo is a single level unit with its own roof and foundation, then it is required to have a home energy score.

If your neighbor has a similar single level condo unit with its own roof and foundation that sold yesterday, you still have to get your own, separate home energy score report. For investors who own multiple non-exempt condo units and are putting them all on the market at the same time, the same principle applies, separate reports for each individual unit.

What about duplexes on a single tax lot? If each separate dwelling unit has its own roof above and foundation below (attached or not to the other unit) each dwelling will need a separate score, so you could have two required scores for a residential duplex or multifamily unit that sits on one tax lot.

Got a houseboat (floating home) docked in Portland? Those are also exempt from the HES rules. Float on!

Finally, any single family residential home or dwelling unit that is used exclusively for commercial purposes does not need a home energy score before going on the market. Portland’s home energy score policy is for residential properties.

Be sure you address this important step in listing your Portland home for sale this summer. Home energy score reports are useful for you, the seller, as well as potential buyers, and the City of Portland is expected to increase enforcement of the law as we move into the busy home selling season.