It’s becoming easier to demonstrate a home’s energy efficiency performance. This month, through its Better Buildings Colorado program, Colorado became the second state to offer the Home Energy Score statewide, which provides a home’s efficiency score and recommendations for efficiency improvements. The program is uniquely targeting real estate professionals to implement the benefits that Home Energy Score can bring to home buyers and home sellers.
The Colorado program, administered through the Colorado Energy Office (CEO), integrates the Home Energy Score into real estate transactions. It prompts consumers to invest in energy efficiency at an opportune time – when they buy or sell a home. It can provide immediate payback for energy efficiency upgrades because it can make a home more attractive to potential buyers. The Colorado Home Energy Score program is also unique because it provides incentives for homebuyers for energy efficient upgrades when they first move in. Colorado joins Connecticut, which began offering the score in April, as states offering the Score. Other states are expected to follow next year.
Similar to a vehicle’s miles-per-gallon rating, the Home Energy Score is a free tool from the Energy Department that provides an energy efficiency score for a home and recommendations for energy efficiency improvements. Qualified professionals – known as Home Energy Score Assessors – collect data and generate a score on a 1-to-10 scale, with a 10 indicating that a home has excellent energy performance.
To become a Home Energy Assessor, individuals take free online training and must pass an online test. More than 20 individual Home Energy Assessors are ready to go in Colorado.
Given recent changes to Home Energy Score Assessor requirements that open the market to a wider range of home professionals, CEO is engaging home inspectors to offer the Score to homebuyers at point of sale. Home inspectors are well positioned to help buyers not only understand what the features they’re buying, but also to prioritize improvements before they move in. Home inspectors are expected to charge $100- $125 for the Score.
The state is going a step further as the first to tie financial incentives directly to the Home Energy Score. To sweeten the deal at time of purchase or refinance, Colorado is offering $750 for every one-point improvement a borrower makes on the Home Energy Score, up to $3,000 for a four point jump in Score. The state hopes these financial incentives will attract more borrowers who are interested in making improvements they otherwise couldn’t afford or might overlook.
Colorado’s leadership continues to positively affect change in the real estate community. From sponsoring appraisal valuation studies and conducting outreach to providing training and recognizing agents who list or sell homes with Scores through consumer-facing interactive online maps, CEO has provided invaluable support to the real estate community. CEO is also working closely with the state’s multiple listing services to include ratings in the listings. This provides buyers, appraisers, and others the opportunity to consider a home’s level of efficiency at point of sale.
In addition to targeting the real estate market, CEO is coordinating with utilities and energy efficiency programs across to offer the Score in conjunction with energy audits at no additional cost to utility customers. As a result, the state is well positioned to grow the volume of scored homes at an accelerated rate, and serve as a use case for other states interested in pursuing a similar program.
The Home Energy Score program welcomes the opportunity to work with other state and local governments, utilities, and organizations interested in energy labels. For more information about the Home Energy Score, visit www.homeenergyscore.gov or email firstname.lastname@example.org. And, for more information about the Home Energy Score program in Colorado, please visit www.betterbuildingsco.com