Home Energy Score FAQ
How long does it take/How much can I charge?
The score is designed, on an average size home, to take 30-45 min on site. Many home inspectors who include the Home Energy Score with their services disclose that it only takes them up to an additional 15-20 minutes while performed during a home inspection. Using the I.D. Energy Home Energy Scoring Tool App can cut that down to 5-15 additional minutes. In areas like Portland, Oregon (where the score is mandated) the average price for a ‘standalone’ service is between $150-$250 depending on the size of the home. Others using the Home Energy Score as an ancillary service charge between $0 and $100 depending on the size of the home and other services bundled, sometime offered as a package.
The most successful inspectors using this program are integrating the score into a standard part of their home inspection and complete a Home Energy Score on every home. This has allowed them to increase their basic inspection cost and also stand out from the competition, enabling them to sell more home inspections and at a higher cost resulting in a larger bottom line!
What will a REALTOR or agent think about a low score?
A low scoring home does not mean the home is a bad home, and a high scoring home does not mean that the home cannot improve. The score is an ‘asset based’ rating and the assessor is collecting data and efficiency values for the home’s attributes, envelope, and equipment. Because of this, and through the experience of those offering the score, we have never experienced upset REALTORS, agents, or clients. Many or most are extremely thankful, impressed, and find it to be incredibly valuable information! Even with a low score, as a MPG rating for the home, they gain the understanding of the estimated energy cost the home is expected to perform at, and how they can potentially improve that score to lower their cost over time. This score, low or high, is proven to help a home sell faster and for more money… and no REALTOR or agent has a problem with that!
What tools do I need?
For any Home Inspector or Energy Rater, there should be no new equipment needed to perform a Home Energy Score. At a minimum you will need; tape measure, flash light, digital camera, and a ladder if needed to gain attic access. Some tools that have proved useful to get the highest efficiency out of your onsite inspection time is; a laser tape and using you mobile or tablet device to record your score onsite using the I.D. Energy Home Energy Score App! No blower door or duct blaster required!!
What training do I need?
I.D. Energy, as an Approved Partner and Service Provider with the U.S. Department of Energy Home Energy Score program has created the easiest, most affordable, and accessible training program in the country; our ‘Fast Track Training Program’!
First; you will need to complete the SIM online training which is like playing a video game where you will learn how to collect the data for a Home Energy Score assessment. I.D. Energy includes ‘Step-by-Step’ tutorial videos, weekly live webinar access, with online and phone support to help you complete this training easily and quickly. Once the SIM is complete you are required to score your first home with a mentor. We provide our ‘Virtual Mentorship’ in which you will review your assessment with an Approved Mentor who will assure you are confident and comfortable performing the score and supplying it to a client. Lastly, your initial 5 assessments after your mentoring will require full QA oversight by DOE requirements. We continue to provide this ‘remotely’ and work to review your report from photographs you collect. We automatically report your QA to the DOE and give you feedback on your reports ensuring the highest quality assessments.
What software do I need?
As a part of our Fast Track Training program and our Ongoing QA, all of our software is included. You will have access to Paperless Inspector’s online Home Energy Scoring tool and the Home Energy Score App for mobile and tablet use. This way, whether you do your reports at home or onsite, we provide an easy and DOE approved software for you. Once your data is submitted using one of these tools, your report is generated as a PDF directly from the DOE in a matter of minutes!
Is there continuing education once approved?
Once completed with the Fast Track Training program, there is no continuing education required, but there are some DOE requirements to stay approved. First, you must complete a Home Energy Score at least once every six months. If you go over 6 months without scoring a home you will be required to complete a short and easy refresher course. If you do not complete the refresher course within 6 months you will be de-activated from the program.
As an active and Certified Assessor, you also are required to be enrolled with an Approved Quality Assurance provider like us at I.D. Energy. Other regional programs charge the industry standard of $25 per assessment submitted toward your QA. At I.D. Energy we give the option of purchasing an “Unlimited QA Package” that will leave you paying only a few dollars or less per assessment!
Rather than performing a second independent in-field assessment for Quality Assurance, our Desktop QA Auditor receives photos of the home’s key features. This eliminates the burden of required physical field QA in the real estate market and ensures a higher quality Home Energy Score Assessment. If completed professionally and correctly, this process will enhance Real Estate transactions for realtors and customers alike.
My utility company offers an energy score for free! How can I compete?
Many utility and electric companies offer customers free energy reports and if available in your area you may wonder how you can compete with free?! For Home Inspectors conducting inspections for buyers, the buyer does not have the opportunity to get a free report until they own the house. But, with your services they can get this this vital and important energy information now relieving them of the burden of needing to schedule additional inspections later. The consumer wants a ‘one-stop-shop’ and you can fulfill all their needs at once!
Additionally, many of these energy providers will not provide the same type of information on the Home Energy Score report. Such as; a 1-10 rating to be able to compare the home to others, Department of Energy recommendations on improving your score and energy costs with a maximum 10-year payback on investment, or a nationally recognized and respected program used by cities, states, and financial institutions.
Are there marketing materials I can receive?
Once you become an Certified Assessor, the DOE supplies you with logos, images, flyers, brochures, and even presentations you can use to help market and launch this new program into your services successfully! I.D. Energy is committed to educate new assessors through our mentoring and program support to give you the most up to date information, marketing strategy, and examples of business successes from other assessors across the country.
What is the demand?
The Home Energy Score program is seeing rapid growth as more and more consumers, agents, and REALTORS show demand for energy efficiency features in a home. In Portland Oregon, to be listed on the public MLS you must have a Home Energy Score. In other cities across the country like Berkley California and Austin Texas similar programs require this established and respected assessment. States like Wisconsin and Colorado have created incentive programs for home owners, buyers, and sellers to get a Home Energy Score and improve their energy efficiency ultimately helping to lower their energy costs.
At I.D. Energy we work directly with the U.S. Department of Energy program and the Home Energy Score Consumer Demand Group continuing to invigorate the nation with the availability of the program. Studies and statistics continually show the ever-growing consumer demand for energy efficiency and as the Home Energy Score is the simplest and most powerful platform for energy awareness, the program is growing equally with this demand. We do believe that in some short years’ time, the Home Energy Score will be as standard as a home inspection when purchasing a home.
Does the climate and location make a difference in a home’s Score?
Yes, the Scoring Tool applies local weather data based on the home’s address (specifically zip code) to estimate energy use for the home. Also, state average utility rates are used to calculate the estimated utility cost savings. The 10 point scale corresponds to different energy usage depending on the local climate, so a house in San Diego that scores a 5 will not use the same amount of energy as a house in Chicago that also scores a 5.
How does the Home Energy Score know how much it costs to implement home energy efficiency improvements in my area?
The Home Energy Score uses national average installation rates for energy efficiency improvements, so costs may vary some depending on your particular area.
Does house size make a difference?
Yes, the 10 point scale does not make special adjustments for size. Therefore, if two different size houses in the same location have relatively the same assets, the smaller house will tend to have a higher (better) score than the larger house.
How is the score calculated?
The Tool estimates the home’s total energy use, based on the Assessor inputs and assuming certain standard conditions, and then translates the total energy into a score ranging from 1 to 10, with 10 being the most energy efficient.
How does the Home Energy Score compare to a comprehensive energy audit or to a HERS Rating?
The Home Energy Score is a quick and basic assessment so it should not be compared to either; however, it can be performed in conjunction with a more comprehensive audit, rating or inspection, including a home inspection.
Is a blower door test and/or a combustion (CAZ) test required?
No, although if a blower door test is done the air leakage result can be entered for a more accurate assessment. However, there are no inputs for duct leakage test results or combustion appliance test results.