The 90s are back – at least as far as your home‚Äôs carbon footprint is concerned. By 2050, Portland wants to slash¬†the city‚Äôs carbon emissions to¬†80 percent below 1990 levels. To help reach that goal, all Portland homes¬†going for sale will need to¬†obtain¬†a Home Energy Score beginning Jan. 1, 2018. You might be asking yourself: what is a Home Energy Score?¬†How much does it cost and how do I get one? More importantly, how do I get a¬†good¬†one? Well, I wasn‚Äôt the winner of¬†Natural Awakenings Magazine’s 2012 Favorite Green Realtor Award for nothing‚ÄĒgreen is my personal and professional passion. I can help¬†you navigate this new sale requirement, increase your homes resale value,¬†shrink your home‚Äôs carbon footprint which will raise your Home Energy Score, and¬†oh yeah,¬†help¬†you¬†save the planet, too.¬†

Here are six real ways to start saving the planet, by starting at home:  

1. Brass tacks. Startling fact: the number one source of carbon emissions around the globe is buildings. That‚Äôs one reason the City of Portland drafted its Home Energy Score program. For any home sold after Jan.1, 2018, you‚Äôll need to hire a Home Energy Assessment contractor prior to listing. They‚Äôll rate your home‚Äôs sources of energy: electricity, natural gas, propane, steam, heating oil, wood…any product whose purpose is to make your home comfortable. To get started with finding a contractor, click¬†here¬†or¬†here.

2. Details.¬†What is a¬†Home Energy Score and how much will it cost?¬†The energy score includes an energy use estimate based on the region‚Äôs average use and behavior. It also predicts the home‚Äôs expected score if recommended improvements are completed.¬†Essentially, it positions the most energy efficient homes as the most attractive homes.¬†The cost to obtain a score is estimated to be between $200-$300.¬†Your home energy performance score — based on a scale from 1 (least efficient) to 10 (most efficient) — estimates your home‚Äôs energy use and cost and creates recommendations about energy efficiency improvements. If your score sits at a 3, how can you bump it to, say,¬†a¬†7?

Solar panel installation Photo Credit:

3. Let me count the ways. A few key upgrades will raise your score (ideally with cash incentives attached).¬†These professionals¬†are a terrific place to start. Keep all documents from your contractors after they complete their work; you‚Äôll have the greenest folder in town.¬†¬†Insulate your home‚Äôs walls and attic and make sure there are no gaps in your insulation. Also, seal ducting in all crawlspaces.¬† ‚ÄĮPartially finished spaces with heat sources (like basements) will be counted as living square footage and could have¬†a¬†(negative) impact on your score.¬†* ‚ÄĮClean and service your heater.¬†* Consider adding¬†solar panels¬†to your roof. Need convincing? Check this stat: According to¬†one solar-panel company, the¬†average solar power system offsets 178 tons of carbon dioxide over 30 years. That‚Äôs like avoiding 390,300 miles driven, planting 10 football fields full of trees, or eliminating 174,907 pounds of burned coal.¬†

4. Bottom line. Your updates can be completed¬†on a budget¬†and help¬†boost the sale¬†of your home¬†by¬†a significant amount,¬†whether 1970s ranch, 1890s Victorian, up-to-the-minute contemporary, or anything in between. Portland has always been at the forefront of energy efficiency and greening your home is¬†not¬†a passing fad. It‚Äôs something that is only going to grow in importance in the housing market, just as it has become the go-to standard for the hippest and most successful commercial buildings¬†around the globe.¬†Change has to start at the construction phase if we‚Äôre going to save the planet, but our¬†desire to love and preserve¬†old homes requires us to make¬†improvements¬†¬†to¬†older homes¬†that are not very easy to identify without some¬†clear and quantifiable¬†information from a professional ‚Äď which is what the¬†Home Energy Score is all about!¬†No more guessing¬†on energy expenses.¬†Consumers will now know what to do to help their houses perform.¬†Next time you‚Äôre a buyer, you‚Äôll be happy about this, I promise.

5. A little paperwork. You’ve completed your audit and have a home energy score, good for you! (Way to avoid those nasty fines!) Now what? Give copies of your documents to a host of people, including your real estate agent (that’s ME!), and I’ll make a check-point copy for prospective buyers to see when they are viewing your home.

6. Pleasure reading. If you’re like me and prefer a deeper dive into your city’s new legislation, the Home Energy Score program, ever-greener ideas, and more, let the city speak for itself with this comprehensive report. 

More questions? I’m here to take this general information and help you apply it to your specific situation. Reach out any time and share this brand new information with your home owner friends!