The Department of Energy Home Energy Score™ can be interpreted as a “miles per gallon” rating on the efficiency of the home. This can give you a better idea of how fuel efficient the home is.
- An asset energy efficiency score on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the most efficient), based on the home’s foundation, roof, walls, insulation, and windows, as well as the heating/cooling equipment;
- 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; and,
- A “Score with Improvements” reflecting the home’s expected score if cost-effective improvements are implemented.
The Home Energy ScoreTM protects the interests of both sellers and buyers.
Residential energy efficiency measures like insulation and high efficiency HVAC are often considered “invisible” investments. Unlike granite countertops, a great location, or solar panels, you cannot directly see insulation or HVAC systems. Instead, their value comes in the form of lower energy bills and improved occupant comfort.
Connecticut is currently working with the Multiple Listing Services to incorporate green and energy related fields into a property’s listing. This will allow home-sellers to market and showcase their efficiency investments using credible scores like the Home Energy Score™. Research has shown that homes disclosing energy costs- even high costs- sold faster than comparable homes and closer to the asking price.
Additionally, the score can make it easier for buyers to find homes with green features, and access financing products such as Fannie Mae’s HomeStyle Energy mortgage loan, FHA’s mortgage products, and even solar financing from the Connecticut Green Bank.
Four things to keep in mind when selling a home with a lower score:
- A score of “1” does not mean that a home is poorly built. A beautiful home with efficient HVAC can still receive a low score if the home has a large surface area where heat can escape, or has insufficient insulation. A good analogy is the car-buying process. The score is similar to a Miles Per Gallon (MPG) rating on a car. If a buyer is comparing a sedan and a pick-up truck, they would expect the pick-up truck to have a lower MPG rating. This does not make one vehicle better than the other; it just means that one is bigger and will likely use more energy!
- The Score estimates a home’s total energy use, not the energy use per square foot. A home with a low score is expected to use more energy per year than the average U.S. home. This means that a lower score could be a tradeoff a buyer would have to consider for a 4,000 square foot home with a beautiful view.
- Most investments into home improvements are made within the first two years after purchase. The Home Energy Score™ provides homeowners with a prioritized list of cost-effective energy efficiency measures that will help them save money and improve comfort.
- Studies have shown that homebuyers appreciate having energy information about a property, regardless of the expected bills being high or a lower Home Energy Score™. The Score is just another tool for buyers to make a more informed decision.
Whether you’re listing a home or advising a homebuyer, first and foremost it is critical that you are well equipped with the knowledge and ability to help your client understand a score.
You should explore DOE’s educational module and full introductory presentation, but there are many other resources for you to familiarize yourself with the Home Energy Score™ and the value of energy efficiency on our Educational Resources page.
The Home Energy Score™ is accessible to Connecticut residents in two ways:
Home Energy Solutions (HES) Program
Connecticut’s premier home energy assessment program provides about $1,000 in home energy performance and basic weatherization measures in one visit for a co-pay of $149 for natural gas or electrically heated homes, and $174 for oil or propane homes. HES assessments include a Home Energy Score™ at no additional charge when you opt-in for your score to be shared with the MLS.
Find a Building Performance Institute (BPI) Certified Home Energy Score™ Assessor
Connecticut residents can get their home scored through a BPI assessor trained in providing the Home Energy Score™. You can find an assessor near you using the DOE Find an Assessor Tool.