Home energy scores: What you need to know

You may have noticed one of the biggest trends in homeownership: energy efficiency. Buyers, sellers and current owners all care about eco-friendly upgrades, and for good reason. A more energy-efficient home will not only have a smaller impact on the environment, but it is also more affordable when the bills are due.

Energy efficiency has been taken to a new level, however, with the advent of the Home Energy Score, implemented by the U.S. Department of Energy. Think of this score like a grading system for individual houses. After an in-depth home inspection, the final score provides a quick snapshot for buyers and homeowners to reference when assessing the property, deciding if they want to buy or making any relevant changes to the property. 

Here's what you need to know about the Home Energy Score:

The score provides insight into home quality
Homebuyers have a vast array of information at their disposal when searching for a new property. Between home features, neighborhood comps and the home inspection, there's a lot to consider. The Home Energy Score is one more factor to look at, giving a quick view of the property's energy efficiency as well as how it stacks up against other properties nearby.

"The Home Energy Score gives a quick view of a property's energy efficiency."

According to the DOE, the score itself is on a one to 10 scale. A one is the lowest score available, and means that the home is not energy efficient at all. Naturally, a 10 would be fantastic. One bonus feature of the score is that it also includes a new rank if certain upgrades were made, like switching out windows and replacing the roof. Therefore, homeowners and buyers can see where the home currently sits and where it could end up. 

When analyzed, this information is a wonderful way to decide if a home fits into your budget or if it is overpriced for its qualities.

What goes into a score?
By now you might be asking what actually makes up the Home Energy Score. As explained by the DOE, several elements of the property are taken into consideration.

Those include:

  • Foundation.
  • Roof.
  • Walls.
  • Insulation.
  • Windows.

In addition, an inspector will look at the heating and cooling system, along with the hot-water system. By checking out these components, the assessor can put together an estimate of the home's total energy usage and recommendations for improvements. Some changes are obvious, like sealing windows and doors or adding more insulation to the attic. Others could be harder to spot, like fixing a damaged foundation or replacing an aging HVAC system. 

Feel free to contact Alban Inspections should have any interest in a Home Energy Score. We're watching this trend closely and can provide more information if you're interested!