x

Buying or Selling Energy Efficient Homes

Always Ask About Energy Efficiency
 

Are you getting ready to buy or sell your home? Energy efficiency is not always at the top of the list for homebuyers and sellers, but knowing the right questions to ask - or answer - can help you find a more comfortable, safe home and avoid unexpected high energy bills after you settle in.  Not only that, but you can feel good knowing your home is part of a solution to the energy and environmental challenges we face.

Home Buyers: How to Ask About Efficiency


What kind of fuel does the home heat with?  How much are the monthly energy bills usually?

Knowing what kind of fuel a house heats and cools with can be useful in determining what kind of energy rates you could expect to pay, but asking a homeowner about what they spend can also be helpful.  It's also important to remember that different people have different preferences when it comes to a comfortable temperature.  This means that your actual energy costs could be higher or lower than the current homeowner’s, if you end up purchasing it. 


Does the home have a Home Energy Score?

Following up with this question can reveal a lot more information about the house.   The DOE 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.  It includes:

  • An 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. 

If the home does have a Score,  ask about what improvements they made to get the score.  If they have not made the recommended improvements, it might be beneficial to talk to them about what has prevented them from doing so as well. 


If the home does not have a Home Energy Score, can it be evaluated by an inspector?

Some building inspectors are Building Performance Institute (BPI) certfied and/or Home Energy Score Assessors. Ask if your inspector if they are certified, and they may be able to reveal information about the insulation, heating and cooling systems, and more, which could potentially be used in negotiations.  

Visit HomeInspector.org to find a trained home inspector. 


Ask to specifically be shown homes with an energy-efficient rating.

The Home Energy Score is common in Connecticut, but there are many other certifications and rating that can determine the energy efficiency of a home. Asking your realtor to only be shown these homes can help to ensure you get an efficient, comfortable home with affordable energy bills. Visit the following pages to learn more about other rating systems and certifications:

Home Sellers: Maximize the Value of Your Home


Preparing Your Home for the Market 

When most people think about preparing a house for the market, they think of repainting, cleaning, maybe even changing out some hardware.  What can really set your home apart however, are the features you can't see.  Getting a Home Energy Score can help to reveal these "invisible" features, such as efficiency and comfort of your home, insulation levels, and the ways you can improve even more. 

The Home Energy Score can be interpreted as a "miles per gallon" rating of the home's energy efficiency.  This can give you a better idea of how fuel-efficient your home is.  It will include: 

  • An 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 and 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.

Once you have this score, you can either use it as a marketing tool to sell your home, or as a roadmap for specific measures that can make your home more attractive after they’re implemented.

You can get your existing home scored today through a home energy assessment by calling 1-877-WISEUSE or by visiting Energize Connecticut's Home Energy Solutions page.  


Can Newly Constructed Homes be Scored?

New homes in Connecticut must meet a minimum level of energy efficiency, but without an objective, third-party measurement of energy efficiency,  it is difficult to make informed comparisons between homes and builders' claims.  The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) index is the industry, and nationally recognized, standard for measuring the energy efficiency of a newly constructed home.  The closer to zero a home achieves on the HERS index, the more efficient it is. 

Energize Connecticut offers guidance for customers building a new home or gut rehab, including how to minimize your new home's HERS index score.  Your final HERS index score may also qualify you for a rebates.  

You can learn more about available residential new construction program by calling 1-877-WISEUSE or by visiting Energize Connecticut's Residential New Construction Program page. 


Find Rebates Available for Energy Upgrades 

Energize Connecticut and the Green Bank offer many other solutions for improving the energy efficiency of your home.  Find a solution that fits your budget and needs on the Find a Solution page.


Marketing Your Efficiency or Renewable Energy Investments

Maybe you’ve already upgraded your home’s insulation and windows, or maybe you’ve installed an air source heat pump.  Perhaps you’ve weatherized your home and installed solar panels.  But, now you’re ready to move. It is common for features like pools, granite countertops, or three-car garages to help homes sell for a higher price, so why shouldn’t high efficiency homes do the same?

Marketing these investments helps to maximize your return when you go to sell your home.  Energy-efficient, or renewable-energy powered homes are increasingly found to sell faster and at a better price than comparable homes on the market.  Here are some tips for making your energy investments marketable: 

  • Ask your listing agent if they are familiar with SmartMLS's green features

    A listing agent with working knowledge of green feature fields in the MLS will be able to provide greater consistency, and high-quality data entry. 

  • Share your Home Energy Score or other Green Rating

There is no requirement that you share your Home Energy Score or other green features, but if you want to market your efficient or renewable energy features, authorizing your score provider or real estate agent to share it with the local MLS will allow you to get your homes green energy information to show up on websites like Zillow or Trulia.  This can make your home more searchable, and differentiate it from the rest of the market. 

  • Find a qualified REALTOR®

Visit the National Association of REALTORS' (NAR) Green Designee Website

  • Learn about how going solar can positively influence your home's value. 

Visit GoSolarCT.com to learn more about the effects of going solar on a property's value and time on the market.   

You can also visit the following websites for guidelines on selling a solar home:

EnergySage.com

SolarPowerAuthority.com

How to Find a Qualified Green REALTOR®

Visit the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) Green Designee website.  Here you can find a local REALTOR who has completed training on energy efficiency and sustainable homes.   This training gives REALTORS a working knowledge in helping you to buy an energy-efficient and green home. 

Our Partners

Visit to CT Power Update page