Why Aren’t Home Efficiency Scores Standard in Online Real Estate Listings?

home efficiency
Portland now requires Home Energy Scores to be included in online aggregators such as Redfin and Zillow.

 When looking to purchase anything from a home to a car, consumers rely heavily on labels and scores to understand the features and performance; That is why home efficiency scores are extremely useful to buyers and can lead to more broad conversations about home energy use. Lots of consumers in the U.S. pay their mortgages without knowing how much energy their own home uses, committing themselves to higher utility bills that they could have avoided. Informing the homebuyers at the right time could potentially push them to choose more energy-efficient options for their home before closing papers are signed. “Portland, Oregon is the best real-world example in the U.S. to date” (❡3). Some cities or states now ask for a form of energy efficiency information for the home during real estate transactions but Portland is the only city to require Home Energy Scores at time-of-listing. Portland’s Home Energy Scoring system is a 10-point scale: “1” meaning homes with the most energy usage and “10” being homes with the least. Those who use Home Energy Scores report using the scores “to target high-performing homes that need few efficiency improvements; to help calculate the full cost of homeownership; to negotiate with sellers over energy-saving upgrades to be performed before the home is sold; and to identify improvements to tackle after move-in” (❡9). High-efficiency scores make the buyer more confident in the huge investment they’re making; It also educates more people to think about energy consumption and conservation. 

The potential in seeing more Energy Efficiency Scoring programs in different parts of the U.S. looks big. After an experiment with homebuyers, ACEEE discovered that “Homebuyers who received energy use information ended up clicking on the least-efficient listing 23 percent less often and the most-efficient option 14 percent more often” (❡19). The study proves the debate that energy efficiency information should be required on real estate listings.

The usage of energy in a home makes a big impact on whether or not a buyer might want to purchase a home. It puts consideration into the cost of utilities, energy conservation, and the wellbeing of our environment.

Agent Website Photos-KristaThis blog post was written by Krista Pham, our intern.

The article that inspired this piece can be found, here.