Home Energy Score: The Key Details Every Homeowner Needs To Know
Did you know the average U.S. household is spending roughly $2400 on energy bills annually? What’s worse is that a recent report by the Department of Energy estimates between 5-30% of all energy spent is wasted due to poor energy utilization for the home.
What this means for you – the lovely homeowner, or soon to be homeowner, reading this – is that most families are over spending by $100-$600 every year for their energy.
This is why the Department of Energy (DOE) has instituted a program called the Home Energy Score, and if you’re in the Bend, Oregon area you’re going to be required to get one of these assessments before you’re selling your home.
With all that said, today we’re going to dive into what the home energy score is, and why homeowners and buyers need to pay attention to this new metric.
So… What Is A Home Energy Score?
The home energy score is a program started in 2012 – developed by the Department of Energy (DOE) – with the goal of providing homeowners, renters, and buyers with verifiable information about the efficiency of a home’s energy usage.
Often the analogy used by the DOE is that the home energy score provides a “miles-per-gallon” rating for a house. The main objective is to provide a standard assessment to easily compare energy usage across the housing market, providing greater insight for consumers.
To determine a home energy score, you’ll need to find a trained assessor (luckily you have one with Porch Light Home Energy Assessors!) who will go through a checklist to rate your house. Once complete, the assessor will compile everything into a report to be provided to you.
For reference, there are 3 parts to every report:
- The Energy Score
- Home Facts
- Ways To Improve Energy Efficiency
How Will A Home Energy Score Help You?
So, we bet you’re saying: “Wow, that’s a lot of nifty facts, but how exactly does this help me?”
Well friend, glad you asked!
The first reason a home energy assessment will help you is in saving you cash. Seriously, a home energy report can provide recommendations on where you could save anywhere from $100-$600 per year on your energy bills.
The second, and more important reason frankly, is that beginning July 1, 2023 a home energy score is required for a consumer home transaction in Bend, Oregon. In addition, the home’s energy score must be included in the listing disclosures along with the scorecard for all potential buyers to see.
What Are The Factors Of A Home Energy Score?
Calculating an energy score requires assessing the “envelope” of your home which includes checking your:
- Water Heater
- Heating & Cooling Systems
- Attic Space
- And More
Overall there are roughly 70 areas of examination with the primary areas being locations within the home where air leakage may occur. Think about your doors, windows, and ventilation systems.
Additional considerations include factors like: the age and size of the house, the direction it faces, the amount of daily shade it receives, and the climate it’s located in.
Your assessor will put all this together into your final home energy score report.
Understanding Your Home Energy Score
Once you receive your home energy score, you’re probably going to have questions related to what it means and how to improve the overall score.
Homes are graded on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being the lowest energy efficient home and 10 representing the highest energy efficiency for a home.
It’s also important to remember the score is determined based on total energy use, not energy use per square foot, which means two homes can be identical other than size and the larger home will generally score lower than the smaller home. This happens because it takes more energy to heat or cool a home with greater volume, even if it has upgraded amenities.
For reference, the home energy score is graded on a distribution where a score of 1 means the home uses more energy than 85% of other U.S. homes and has a lot of improvement.
A score of 5 means the home uses more energy than 50% of comparable homes.
A score of 10 is unique in that these houses use less energy than 90% of U.S. homes.
How Can You Improve Your Home Energy Score?
Ahh – the big question!
The answer is straightforward…
Make sure to follow the recommendations listed in your home energy assessment. Your trained inspector will be able to provide a list of specific recommendations based on your individual situation, but here are some easy tips to get started:
Reduce Your Electricity Usage
Switching to LED or CFL bulbs and installing energy efficient appliances produce great results for reducing your electricity usage.
Reduce Your Air Drafts
Be sure to seal and caulk any uncovered areas around doors, plumbing, windows, and electrical to help eliminate drafts and keep your home warmer.
Stabilize Heating And Cooling Energy
Installing a programmable thermostat to help maintain temperatures when you’re away from the house is an effective way to save on energy bills and improve your score.
If you’re in need of a friendly home energy assessor to provide you with a clear and accurate home energy score then look no further than Porch Light Home Energy Assessors. We’ve been helping the city of Bend and surrounding areas with their home inspections for years, and home energy scores is just another piece of the puzzle to successfully selling your home. Give us a call or fill out a form to schedule one of our technicians today!
Frequently Asked Questions
Does A Score Of 1 Mean My Home Is Poorly Built?
Not necessarily, a beautiful home with brand new appliances can still get a low score if it has high square footage or lack of insulation. A low score is an indication of significant improvement to reduce home energy usage.
Does Scoring A 10 Mean The Home Can’t Improve?
Scoring a 10 is currently something to be proud of, but there’s still room for additional energy efficiency! Even if you score a 10 there will be recommendations you can follow to help sustain a high score for the life of the home.
How Important Is A Home Energy Score?
The importance of a home energy score is significant now that Bend (and surrounding areas) are requiring it. In fact, you won’t be able to complete a transaction unless you’ve obtained a home energy score.
Are Home Energy Assessments Worth It?
Yes definitely, and not just because we’re the ones providing you with the inspections. You can easily find areas to save anywhere from 5-30% on your energy bills with a home energy assessment.
How Much Does A Home Energy Assessment Cost?
Anywhere from $300-$600 depending on your home.