house in winter - heating system concept and cold snowy weather with model of a house wearing a knitted cap

Saving money. Saving energy. Energy independence. If the Bend City Council can do all that without forcing residents to do things they don’t want to, it’s a win.

That’s why the climate action plan the council is scheduled to vote on Wednesday should get support.

Is this plan going to help save the planet from climate change? There are people who will tell you no. There are people who will tell you yes. Rather than get mired in a debate about that aspect of the plan, does it make sense for a lot of other reasons? Yes.

It supports more solar energy on public buildings. It supports more renewable energy in general for the community. It supports more use of electric vehicles. It supports more energy-efficient homes. It is not dictating that those things happen. There are more details about it on the city’s website.

Councilors will apparently not include in the plan a mandatory home energy score. The idea in the original plan was to mandate when a home is sold so that a home energy score be available for potential buyers. A home energy score is a rating from 1 to 10 about how energy efficient a home is; 10 is the best. A score can be excellent information for people buying a home. It can give them a fairly accurate picture of utility costs and also where a home could use efficiency upgrades. Making it mandatory would likely promote energy efficiency and save energy and money in the long run.

There’s also a cost to the requirement. It might be $150 -$300, depending on various estimates. That’s not much at all — especially if it is wrapped into the total home price. But another cost is another cost. Councilors apparently want to do more research on the matter before making the score a requirement. One question raised was: Are there enough inspectors to do the job in Bend? Councilors should direct staff to find the answers they need before making a decision on the score part of the plan.

(2) comments

I've followed your progress toward implementing a Home Energy Score (HES) mandate for your community.  But today, I read today in the "Bend Bulletin" that the HES may become a voluntary action tied to real estate transactions.  It seams that there is a concern about the cost of the service, and the lack of Energy Assessor who could perform the service.  However, these two objections should not be issues in which you decide to mandate (or not) the Home Energy Score within you community.  

Please note that the City of Portland, (where my company Scores homes) also had Zero HES Portland approved Energy Assessors when they mandated the program... and by the time the mandate went into effect 50+ individuals had received their Assessor Licenses.  Today we have nearly 70 Assessors approved in Portland. 

If my memory serves me correctly, Bend has approximately 4,500 homes sales per year that would be effected by the HES mandate (considering that any "stacked unit" Condo is excluded from the Scoring, this only leaves side-by-side townhouse style properties and free standing single family residences that need HES).  If the 4,500 homes per year is indeed the correct number, then you community will only see about 400 Scores performed per month on average.  My company alone Scores 1/3 of that volume each month. Here at on average we Score 143 homes each month, and we've Scored nearly 2,700 homes in Portland in just the last 2 years.   So, Bend might only need a handful of Energy Assessment companies to meet the needed demand.

The price point that has been tossed around on the web, and in newspapers, has ranged as high as $300 for HES. reports.  Well, the same happened here in Portland as many misinformed groups were saying they expect the cost to be $250-$275 for a report... but, Energy Scores today range from $125-$150 here in Portland (and likely this same price will be the going rate in Bend as well).  

We, , have considered opening up a satellite office in Bend if the mandate takes place.  But without a mandate, you wont need more then the 1 Energy Assessor that is already approved for your area because the Scoring of homes won't be an issue... because it won't happen.  Today in Portland we have the mandate, and a fine that goes along with it, and we are only seeing compliance levels between 60-75% month after month.  

If we can be of service in any way... Through using this email as testimony, by providing insight on our experiences, or other, please let me know.  I believe that the Energy Scoring has a purpose, and positive impact on Climate Awareness while educating the Homeowner (and perhaps even changing energy usage behaviors).  

I'm here to help in anyway possible.

Thank you,



There are some very objective/scientific approaches to measure residential energy efficiency, thanks to such organizations as the National Association of Homebuilders, and others.

Some current homeowners appreciate the modest extra investment that was made to make their house "tighter", and may even have installed Heat Recovery Ventilation to make sure their indoor air quality does not suffer.

The presence of current model HVAC units also contribute to energy efficiency, and are recognized during the appraisal process.

Prospective homeowners should be interested in a specific home's operating costs, and disclosure of an objective measure of energy efficiency would be informative.

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