What makes a Portland Home Energy Score Assessor qualified?

portland home energy assessor

Home energy score assessors have a unique job. Unlike a home inspector or appraiser, they look at one primary aspect of how a home functions: Energy efficiency. Understanding how all the components of a home work together is just part of it — a good Assessor can communicate well with the client, enter data precisely, and keep up with evolving scoring standards. 

Most home owners simply put in a call or schedule online to get their Home Energy Score, but it’s good to know who you’re working with. Not only should you be able to trust them in your home, they should also have followed all the steps to become an approved Home Energy Score Assessor in the City of Portland — or your Score will be invalid.

Why do Assessors have to be approved in the first place? First of all, they have to know something about buildings and energy efficiency. Secondly, they must be familiar with the specific scoring system we use here in Portland.

Across the world right now, there are many competing systems for evaluating home energy performance. Without standardization, comparing the various answers to the question “How efficient is this home?” would be useless. That’s why the City of Portland incorporates information from the Home Energy Score developed by the U.S. Department of Energy into its program. Homeowners have to have this Portland specific energy score before listing their home on the real estate market; no other energy audit or assessment can stand in its place.

People authorized to provide a Home Energy Score in Portland are known as Home Energy Score Assessors. To see a full list of qualifying credentials for Portland Home Energy Score Assessors, see the Oregon Department of Energy’s website.

What’s next? After proving they have one of the approved credentials, which can take anywhere from one month to a year to obtain, potential Assessors must take a 12-hour simulation training and exam administered by the Department of Energy. Finally, Portland Home Energy Score Assessors must be authorized by Earth Advantage, a local non-profit that provides assessor training and quality assurance in partnership with the City of Portland.

With some additional paperwork and orientation from Earth Advantage, the Assessor is ready to perform his or her first Home Energy Score Assessment — but only under the guidance of an experienced mentor. 

From there, it’s not home free. Assessors must meet ongoing standards, and 5% of the homes they score are randomly selected to be re-scored by a quality assurance provider. In addition, they must complete any required training to maintain their qualifying certification — for example, home inspectors must complete 15 hours or more of continuing education per year.

How can you be sure your Portland Home Energy Score Assessor has met all the qualifications? Check their CCB license number (ours is 218360) with the State of Oregon by using their search tool. You can also look for them under the Earth Advantage list to ensure that they are an authorized provider.