You scheduled online or made the phone call. A Home Energy Score Assessor came to your Portland home and did the assessment. Then they handed you a piece of paper, the Energy Score Report. Now what?
For some home sellers, the answer will be, “Give it to my real estate agent and move on to the next item on my very long to-do list!” If that’s the case — we get it. But if you’re one of those who wants to learn as much as they can from the report, read on to understand what it all means.
1. Check the Energy Score
That’s the number in the top-middle of the page. It’s also the number that most real estate agents will write into the listing description of the home when it goes on the market. Although the report contains a whole lot more information about how your home performs, it’s this single number that most home buyers will see when they first glance over your home. It’s based on the home’s physical characteristics (size, orientation, window types, insulation, roof materials, etc.) as well as its systems (heating, cooling, etc.). This is important because the actual behavior of the occupants (turning down the heat, using energy efficient appliances) doesn’t contribute to the score.
On the Home Energy Score report itself, it’s stated that 5 is the average, but what it doesn’t explain is that the number is actually a percentile score. A score of 10 puts a home in the top 10% of energy efficiency. Put another way, if a home scores a 10, it is more efficient than 90% of other homes.
Working our way down the scale, a home that scores a 5 is more efficient than 50% of other homes. A 1 score means that 85% of homes in the US are more energy efficient.
2. Compare the Energy Costs
In the top-right corner of your Home Energy Score report, you’ll see the estimated energy costs. This is what the assessment algorithm figures will be the total energy bill for the year for the average family living in this home*. It’s not based on what you actually paid, but figured purely by taking the quantity of energy the home is expected to use, and multiplying it by the current rate that Portland utilities are charging for electricity, natural gas, etc.
You might compare this number to the total of your actual bills. If the numbers are wildly different, contact your home energy assessor.
*Family size is figured based on the number of bedrooms in the home.
3. Investigate the Energy Improvements
On the second page of your Home Energy Score report, you’ll find the list of “priority improvements” that could make your home more energy efficient. This is one of the most helpful features of the report — those improvements that can pay themselves back in 10 years are less are listed first. If you decide not to list your home right away and want to improve its value before you sell, these projects would be a great place to start! They’re not as exciting as a kitchen remodel, but thanks to the Home Energy Score, buyers will recognize their value.
Now that you know how to read one, order your Home Energy Score report today!