The Home Energy Score is a specific sub-action that is called out in Bend’s Community Climate Action Plan (CCAP). It states:
Energy in Buildings Strategy 3: Implement benchmarking and disclosure programs for energy performance (page 24 in the CCAP)
Sub-action: Implement a Home Energy Score program that requires every home to be scored on its energy use and energy efficiency at the time of listing.
It is important to note that at this point, the Home Energy Score is just a strategy in the Climate Action Plan. In order for it to be put into place, a separate ordinance will have to be developed and adopted by City Council. We have the opportunity to shape the program into something that works for Bend. The development of the ordinance will be a collaborative process with the community. The general assumed structure is based on ordinances from other communities across the country.
What is the Home Energy Score?
Developed by the Department of Energy and its national laboratories, the Home Energy Score™ provides homeowners, buyers, and renters directly comparable and credible information about a home’s energy use. Like a miles-per-gallon rating for a car, the HES is based on a standard assessment of energy-related assets to easily compare energy use across the housing market. The tool is uniquely refined to require minimal data input – to save on time, money, and training for Assessors – while producing maximum accuracy for energy use predictions.
Home Energy Score will help build market value for energy efficient homes that improve quality of life by:
- Providing homeowners and homebuyers knowledge of home energy efficiency and cost-effective improvements in order to reduce energy use and costs.
- Encouraging use of reliable, consistent home energy efficiency information in real estate transactions to inform decisions, and build market value for comfortable, energy efficient homes.
- Integrating energy information into financing products to help drive the market for comfortable, energy efficient homes.
Features of the Home Energy Score
The Home Energy Score Report estimates home energy use, associated costs, and provides energy solutions to cost-effectively improve the home’s efficiency. Each HES is shown on a simple one-to-ten scale, where a ten represents the most efficient homes.
- An energy efficiency score based on the home’s envelope (foundation, roof, walls, insulation, windows) and heating, cooling, and hot water systems
- A total energy use estimate, as well as estimates by fuel type assuming standard operating conditions and occupant behavior
- Recommendations for cost-effective improvements and associated annual cost savings estimates
- A “Score with Improvements” reflecting the home’s expected score if cost-effective improvements are implemented
Why Home Energy Scores?
The Oregon Department of Energy’s 2018 Biennial Energy Report took a deep dive into energy consumers in our state. Unfortunately, Oregon continues to see challenges faced by energy-burdened consumers. An Oregonian is considered “energy burdened” when their household’s energy-related expenditures exceed 6% of their income. In Deschutes County, 15-29% or residents earning 200% or below the Federal Poverty Level are energy burdened. Home energy scores can help consumers better understand a home’s energy efficiency, and identify simple home improvements that can mean big savings for their energy bills. (Taken from Oregon Department of Energy website).
A HES policy addresses residential energy use, the biggest source of sector-based emissions in Bend, according to the Community Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventory and it introduces information that is critical for buyers and renters alike to take action on their energy use
Is Bend the only community considering a mandatory HES program?
Oregon’s statewide home energy scoring program is voluntary, but more local cities are looking into developing mandatory programs. The City of Portland was the first Oregon community to adopt a mandatory energy score program. In the last year, Portland has issued more than 7,000 scores. Oregon Department of Energy has also met with other Oregon communities, including Milwaukie, Eugene, Corvallis, Ashland, Hood River, and Hillsboro.
Other Background Resources
- “What does my score mean?” fact sheet
- Learn more about the background and why the Home Energy Score was developed by the US Department of Energy
- Home Energy Score Scoring Methodology
- City of Portland Home Energy Score
- Grounded Podcast: Oregon Scores (from the Oregon Department of Energy)