6 Things to Know Before Your Home Energy Score Assessment

Home Energy Score assessment: measuring a skylightEnhabit’s assessors often receive questions from realtors and homeowners about how they can prepare for their home energy score assessment. Here are six of the questions we get asked most often, along with some expert input from our team of home energy score advisors.

How long does it take to get a home energy score?

Peter Kernan, Enhabit score advisor: The assessment takes about an hour and a half to complete on average. Some larger homes take a bit longer. During the test, the assessor measures living spaces and windows and collects information about insulation, furnaces, hot water heaters and other aspects of the home that impact its energy efficiency.

Do I have to be present at the assessment?

Jason Elton, Enhabit quality systems manager: Although it’s not required for a realtor or homeowner to be present during the assessment, it’s really beneficial for the homeowner to hear what the assessors uncover. Homeowners are often very interested to hear what makes a home (even the home they are selling) more or less energy efficient, because it improves their understanding about a home’s performance. Additionally, being at the assessment allows the homeowner to ask questions to the advisor about what features of their home will most impact their score.

When will I receive my home energy score?

Jackie Zusi-Russell, Enhabit score assessor: If you work with Enhabit as your assessor, you’ll receive your home energy score on the same day and many times within a few minutes of the assessor finishing data collection. Enhabit uses a custom-built app to enter all the information we gather about the home while on-site. Enhabit’s application is integrated into the City’s official scoring platform, so our scores can be generated very quickly and accurately.

Am I required to make updates to my home after I receive my home energy score?

Kyle Chase, home performance advisor: No work on the home  is required, regardless of the score. All that’s required is the score itself. But, if sellers or buyers are interested in making energy improvements to their future home, Enhabit offers free consultations with our home energy advisor experts where we can help you determine what upgrades could most benefit your home. You can schedule a free phone consult at our website.

What simple things can I do to improve my home’s score?

Danny Kelley, lead home performance advisor: Insulation is the single most important influence on a home’s energy performance, and the lack of insulation that has a dramatic impact on the home energy score. Insulation acts as a barrier between the home and the outside elements. Think of insulation like a coat. A coat keeps you warmest when it’s zipped up. If you walk outside with the coat unzipped, you have a much higher likelihood of feeling drafts and wind. Insulation works the same way.

Attic spaces and crawlspace hatches are often overlooked spaces for insulation, and we regularly see these spaces uninsulated or under-insulated. Fortunately, adding insulation to attics and crawlspaces is easy to do, and will positively impact the score and your comfort in your home.

Beyond insulation, we recommend homeowners seal their ductwork by painting on mastic sealant putty. Energy Trust of Oregon also has a list of low-cost and no-cost tips to improve a home’s energy efficiency.

What’s the average home energy score for a home in Portland?

Victor Martin Sarmiento, score assessor: Since January 2018, more than 2,200 homes have been scored in Portland, with an average score of 4.4. If every scored home implemented the cost-effective recommendations found in the Home Energy Score reports, the average score would move up to 7.1 and would save the homeowner $307 per year in utility costs.