Residential Real Estate Sales

Sell Smart Buy Smart Energy Smart

Understanding and using the Home Energy Score

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How do you know if an existing home is energy efficient?

A home that is energy efficient can deliver long-term savings in utility and maintenance costs, but it’s not always easy to learn about a home’s efficiency during the purchase process.

What is the Home Energy score?

The Home Energy Score (HES) was developed by the U.S. Department of Energy to quantify the energy efficiency of a home. It helps homeowners and homebuyers understand how much energy a home is expected to use. Home Energy Score can be used for single family home, duplexes, triplexes or townhomes.

To get a home energy score, a qualified Building Performance Institute (BPI) Auditor will come to the home and conduct a home energy assessment. The home energy score is included in the assessment report. It provides reliable data that can help potential buyers understand how the home performs.  

The score is a cost-effective, third-party evaluation of a home’s efficiency. It can be included in the MLS description of the home, and can help buyers access mortgage incentives so they can make efficiency upgrades shortly after purchase.

The Home Energy Score is a simple 1-to-10 scale, similar to a vehicle's miles-per-gallon rating. The HES scale is calibrated geographically to reflect the home’s performance compared to other homes in the local area.

A home with a score of 5 uses the same amount of energy as an average home in that local area. A score of 6 to 10 means the home uses less energy than the average. A score of 1 to 4 means the home is using more energy than average and could benefit from energy efficiency upgrades.

The score does not include information on a home’s renewable energy systems, such as a solar photovoltaic (PV) electric system. If the home has a solar PV system, be sure to have information about the system available for the appraiser, realtors and potential buyers. More information at right.

The home energy score can also be used to evaluate home energy upgrades that improve a home’s performance.

Here is what a Home Energy Score rating sheet looks like.

Home Energy Score example

In this example, the home achieved a score of 3 -- performing below the level of the average home in the area. By completing certain recommended upgrades, the score could be improved from a 3 to a 7, turning a below-average home to an above-average home.

The home energy score sheet also shows the estimated yearly energy savings that can be expected after making the efficiency upgrades to the home.

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How to use the Home Energy Score
with a REALTOR® to market your home

If the home scores 6 or above, enter the HES score into the MLS listing. This indicates that the home has some energy efficient features.

With your REALTOR®, use the information in the home energy assessment to complete the “Energy - Green Features Addendum” form. Items such as Energy Star appliances, high efficiency heating or cooling equipment, insulation levels can be attractive to homebuyers.

Use the information from the home energy assessment to inform potential buyers about the home’s performance and efficiency. The report will include information on energy upgrades that will improve the home. Contact CLEER for free energy consulting about upgrades, rebates, mortgage incentives and other financing options.

A higher Home Energy Score may help more buyers qualify to purchase the home. For example, for an FHA loan, 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. That means a buyer can qualify for higher loan amount on an energy efficient home.

Why get a Home Energy Score?
How does it help the home seller or buyer?

The Home Energy Score can be used to access incentives for upgrading the home. Upgrades recommended in the HES report can qualify for mortgage incentives such as the FHA Energy Efficient Mortgage, and the Fannie Mae HomeStyle Energy loan. Check with your lender or contact a Garfield Clean Energy Consultant to learn more about these options.

Energy coaches at Garfield Clean Energy assist REALTORS®, home sellers and buyers in understanding the HES and assessment report. We can also identify opportunities for improving the home’s energy efficiency and performance, and maximize available rebates and incentives to help pay for improvements.

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How to get a Home Energy Score (HES)

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.

  • Sign up for the assessment online or through CLEER.

  • 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.

  • Receive the assessment report and Home Energy Score.

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

If the home energy assessment is conducted prior to closing on the sale, mortgage incentives such as the FHA Energy Efficient Mortgage and the Fannie Mae HomeStyle Energy loan are also available to home buyers who want to invest in the improved energy efficiency of their new home.

Rebates from utilities and local nonprofits may also be available for energy efficiency upgrades.

It all starts with a home energy assessment and Home Energy Score.

Contact your Energy Consultant and get started today.

(970) 704-9200
buysmart@cleanenergyeconomy.net

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Information pages
in this section

Home sellers

Home buyers

REALTORS

Home Energy Score


Resources

Energy - Green Features Addendum form

Solar Photovoltaic System System form


Contact an Energy Consultant for guidance

Shelley Kaup
(970) 704-9200
buysmart@cleanenergyeconomy.net


More information on
the Home Energy Score
at these sites:

Colorado Energy Office

DOE-EERE

Better Buildings Colorado

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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.

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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

 

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