Residential Real Estate Sales

Sell Smart Buy Smart Energy Smart

Info for BUYERS

Congratulations on your decision to buy a home!

Garfield Clean Energy encourages you to consider home performance in your decision. Energy efficiency can help your new home perform better and save you money on utilities. Over time, this can add up to thousands of dollars.

High performing energy efficient homes offer many benefits:

  • Improved comfort: Fewer drafts, cold or hot spots and more stable temperatures mean your home is more comfortable year round.

  • Improved durability: High performing homes have less infiltration of outside air and moisture, protecting the foundation, frame and roof.

  • Lower utility bills: Energy efficiency means energy savings, and that means more money in your pocket every month.

  • Less impact on the environment: An energy efficient home uses fewer energy resources, reducing environmental impacts.

  • Potentially higher resale value: More home buyers are looking for energy efficient homes. It’s a strong selling point.

Garfield Clean Energy can help you know what to look for and help you improve you new home purchase.

Homes that are energy efficient and that have Energy Star appliances and efficient lighting can save 20 to 40 percent on utilities compared to standard or older construction.

At left are inefficient systems found in many homes. The good news is these are opportunities for investment and future cost savings. At right are upgrades often found in a high performing, energy efficient home.

Cross-section of an energy efficient home

Home improvement opportunities

  1. Low insulation levels
  2. Duct leakage
  3. Inefficient heat pump
  4. Incandescent light bulbs
  5. Inefficient appliances
  6. Gas tank water heater
  7. Inefficient furnace or boiler
  8. Combustion safety risks
  9. Inefficient cooling
  10. Disconnected ductwork

High performance energy efficient home

  1. R-49 or higher attic insulation
  2. Tight ductwork
  3. High-efficiency heat pump
  4. LED light bulbs
  5. ENERGY STAR appliances
  6. High-efficiency water heater
  7. High-efficiency furnace or boiler
  8. Combustion safety assurance
  9. High-efficiency cooling
  10. Insulated, tight ductwork

Have you found a home you are interested in buying?

Blower door test

Home purchase is a great time to upgrade the energy efficiency of your new home. Incentives available from utilities, local nonprofits and through mortgage features make it easier to buy down the costs of energy upgrades.

The first step to understanding your new home’s energy performance is to have a building energy analyst perform a home energy assessment. At right is a building analyst conducting a blower-door test.

The home energy assessment will help you understand which features of the home are currently energy efficient and what features could benefit from upgrades.

From the assessment you will receive an assessment report and a Home Energy Score (HES). These reports will help you understand the home’s energy efficiency and how to improve it. The reports may also qualify the home for rebates and mortgage incentives for the upgrades you complete.

How to get the home energy assessment
and Home Energy Score for a home you are purchasing

  1. Verify that the realtor/seller is willing to allow access to the home for the assessment.

  2. Contact CLEER to learn about signing up for a home assessment in your area of Garfield County. Cost of the assessment will depend on the home’s utility providers.

  3. Sign up for the assessment online or through CLEER. The home assessment must be completed PRIOR to closing.

  4. Talk to your lender about energy efficient mortgage features, available from FHA, Fannie Mae or the VA, if you anticipate making energy efficiency upgrades to your new home.

  5. A BPI-certified home energy analyst will contact you to set up appointment. Pick a convenient time. The assessment will take 1 ½ to 2 hours. If possible, plan to be present for the assessment. It is a great learning opportunity.

  6. Receive the assessment report and Home Energy Score.

  7. Contact your energy consultant at CLEER to review the report and evaluate your options. This service is free.

  8. If the home has a Home Energy Score below 5, it needs improvement. Identify two or three priority improvements. Insulation and air-sealing is an essential top priority unless the home scored high in this factor.

  9. Contact your energy consultant at CLEER to assist with applying for rebates and financing incentives.

  10. Work with your energy consultant at CLEER to evaluate bids from contractors and make sure your upgrades are eligible for rebates.

  11. Complete your improvements within 120 days of closing.

  12. Enjoy the comfort of your new energy efficient home and lower utility bills.

What rebates and incentives are available?


A variety of rebates are offered to buyers for energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades by energy utilities and, in some areas of Garfield County, by CORE.

Rebates can vary from $50 to more than $1,000, depending on the utility and location.

Contact a CLEER energy consultant to learn more.

Mortgage Incentives

With a home energy assessment report in hand, buyers can use the report’s recommendations to prioritize and plan for upgrades. A CLEER energy consultant can help the buyer make smart choices and maximize rebates.

Important note: The home energy assessment and Home Energy Score must be completed PRIOR TO CLOSING for the buyer to qualify for the following energy efficient mortgage features:

Fannie Mae HomeStyle Energy Mortgage loan

Buyers can take advantage of the Fannie Mae HomeStyle Energy Mortgage loan program to borrow up to 15 percent of the “as improved” appraisal value of the home.

The Home Energy Score is used as the measure to qualify for this loan feature. Talk to your lender about the HomeStyle Mortgage Loan.

Download fact sheet.

FHA Energy Efficient Mortgage

The qualifying income ratio of the borrower can be “stretched” by 2 percent for homes that score 6 or higher on the Home Energy Score.

A home assessment can qualify certain cost effective home improvements for an Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM), so those improvements can be financed with the loan. The EEM may be combined with any Title II FHA mortgage. Contact your lender for more information.

Information pages
in this section

Home sellers

Home buyers


Home Energy Score


Energy - Green Features Addendum form

Solar Photovoltaic System form

Contact an Energy Consultant for guidance

Maisa Metcalf (se habla español)
(970) 704-9200 ext. 1101

Brandon Jones
(970) 704-9200 ext. 1103

Solar array on residence

Solar electric systems
add value to a home’s appraisal

If your client’s home has a solar photovoltaic (PV) system, make sure the appraiser has access to this information.

A green-qualified appraiser will know how to add the value of the solar system to the overall appraised value of the property.

Click here to download the Residential Solar Photovoltaic System form.

Work with the seller to obtain the information needed to fill out the form. Once complete, provide a copy to the appraiser.

Garfield Clean Energy's free services for residential real estate sales are provided under a grant from the Colorado Energy Office

Colorado Energy Office

and in partnership with

Glenwood Springs Association of Realtors

Glenwood Springs
Association of REALTORS

2520 S. Grand Ave., Suite 108
Glenwood Springs, Colo, 81601
(970) 945-9762