Hillsboro seeks feedback on possible home energy score policy
Hillsboro officials are seeking public input on a proposal that would require people selling their homes to obtain and disclose an energy use "score" to potential buyers.
The city says the proposed policy is a consumer protection policy that provides transparency for one of the most significant costs related to operating a home — heating and cooling.
"It empowers community members to make informed decisions and reduce their energy use and cost," Hillsboro officials said in a statement. "Providing this information helps home buyers to understand how efficiently the home uses energy, the energy cost to operate the home, and what measures can be taken to improve energy efficiency and lower costs."
The city will take comments from Nov. 16 through Feb. 22.
If adopted, the policy would require sellers of residential, single-family homes to obtain and disclose a "home energy score report" before publicly listing their home for sale.
They would have to include the full home energy score in the Multiple Listings Service (MLS) and other places where the home sale is listed and display the score in the house where prospective buyers would see it.
A policy that includes single-family rental homes may be considered at a later date, officials said.
A home energy assessment takes about an hour to complete and focuses on mechanical systems, insulation, and air duct sealing, according to the city. A trained and certified assessor would evaluate the home's mechanical systems, including heating, cooling and hot water, as well as its insulation, air ducts, windows and any existing efficiency measures, such as solar panels.
A home energy score report consists of a score from one to 10, with 10 being the most efficient. It would include estimated annual energy cost, including a breakdown of the costs for each energy utility. It would also show the home's carbon footprint, along with a list of priority energy-saving projects to reduce energy use and cost and improve the score.
According to the city government, home energy assessment and report would cost between $150 to $250 on average to complete.
Officials plan to develop grants to assist lower-income homeowners with the cost of the assessment and report.
Existing cash incentives are available through the Energy Trust of Oregon to encourage homeowners to invest in energy efficiency upgrades, the city said.
If Hillsboro adopts the policy, it would join Portland in requiring home-sellers to list home energy scores. In 2018, Portland became the second city in the country to adopt such a policy, following Berkeley, California.
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