2016 and 2017 ENERGY STAR Contractor of the Year. Based in Portland and Bend, GreenSavers is a national leader in home energy efficiency. Get a home energy audit or estimate for insulation, windows, furnace, air conditioner, ductless heat pump, water heater, seismic or solar system.

Portland, Oregon


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Portland Home Energy Score: Let's get started

Give us a call at 503.223.8767 if you need a Home Energy Score or if you're a Realtor looking to learn more about the Portland Home Energy Score program.

With some exceptions, you need a Home Energy Score if you're selling a single-family home or townhome in Portland after January 1, 2018. GreenSavers leads a team of Home Energy Assessors who are licensed to provide Home Energy Scores. We're also one of only a handful of approved trainers for the Portland Home Energy Score program. Realtors earn continuing education (CE) credits for our presentations.

Why GreenSavers? Selected as 2016 and 2017 ENERGY STAR Contractor of the Year, GreenSavers is the only contractor in Portland recognized by the US EPA and DOE for outstanding contributions to energy efficiency. Our mission is to improve lives, inspire our team, and serve our communities by building in a better, more holistic way. 

More about GreenSavers - We're a contractor specializing in energy efficiency upgrades for Portland and Bend homeowners. We install insulation, heating and cooling systems, windows, water heaters, seismic retrofits, and solar panels. We also handle the paperwork needed to process your cash incentives and tax credits. As a trade ally contractor with Energy Trust of Oregon, we have the highest rating - 3 out of 3 stars - for customer service and quality performance.

Ask us about a Home Energy Score


Portland Home Energy Score: Guide for homeowners


Do I need a Home Energy Score?
You need a Home Energy Score if you're selling a single-family home or townhome in Portland, Oregon after January 1, 2018. Click here for an overview of exemptions. The City of Portland, requires sellers to obtain a Home Energy Report, including a Home Energy Score, from a licensed Home Energy Assessor. Both the report and score must be disclosed prior to publicly listing the home for sale. Not sure if your home falls within Portland city limits? Enter the street address in portlandmaps.com, then check to see if the jurisdiction is listed as "Portland."


Where do I start?
You should contact a licensed real estate professional if you're planning to sell your home. Prior to listing in Portland, you'll need a Home Energy Score from a licensed Home Energy Assessor. Give us a call at 503.223.8767 to connect with a Home Energy Assessor.


How long does it take to get a Home Energy Score?
On average, a Home Energy Assessment lasts an hour to an hour and a half, depending on the size and complexity of your home. You won't need to be actively engaged with the Home Energy Assessor for the entire length of your appointment, but it helps to talk with you at the beginning and end.


How much does a Home Energy Score cost?
The charge for a Home Energy Report, including a Home Energy Score, from a coalition partner is typically $250. If you schedule a home energy audit with GreenSavers and complete a project, you get a post-project Home Energy Score at no charge. Learn more by giving us a call at 503.223.8767.


Is a Home Energy Assessment the same as a home energy audit?
In short, no! A Home Energy Score requires only a visual inspection of assets like insulation levels and the condition of existing HVAC equipment. By contrast, our home energy audit includes full diagnostic testing, such as a blower door test, IR camera scan, and combustion safety test. It's worth watching the home energy audit video overview. What you get is a Home Performance Report, Indoor Air Quality Report and Project Proposal, which gives a breakdown of applicable cash incentives and tax credits. Clients who start with a home energy audit and complete a project get a post-project Home Energy Score for free.

What does my Home Energy Score mean?
The US Department of Energy created a helpful 2-pager about the Home Energy Score. In a nutshell, the Home Energy Score uses a 1 to 10 scale, where 10 represents the most energy efficient homes. The scale is based on US Census housing data and is adjusted for the local climate here in Portland. If your home scores a 5, it's expected to perform comparably to an average home in Portland in terms of energy use. If your home scores a 10, it ranks among the 10% of Portland homes expected to use the least amount of energy. The score is "asset" based, meaning that it's based on energy-related assets, like the size of your home and condition of your windows. It's not based on your behavior or the number of occupants.


What else does my Home Energy Report include?
In addition to a Home Energy Score, your Home Energy Report includes a list of recommendations to improve the energy efficiency of your home and estimated energy savings. The recommendations are prioritized by estimated payback, with a maximum estimated payback of 10-years.

Do I need a Home Energy Score for my accessory dwelling unit (ADU)?
You do not need a Home Energy Score for a detached ADU. ADUs that are part of the primary residence will automatically be captured in the Home Energy Assessment, which is based on all the rooms within the outer envelope of the home.

How do I improve my Home Energy Score?
The Home Energy Score is a 10-point scale based on the home's size, building components, and energy systems, which fall into the following categories: (1) heating and cooling systems, (2) water heating, (3) insulation values, (4) windows, and (5) conditioned area square footage. As the homeowner, you have the most control over your energy systems. An older home without insulation will benefit most from attic insulation, wall insulation, and crawlspace insulation. Other priorities typically fall within the category of heating and cooling (e.g. replacing an older furnace, air conditioner, or water heater). The priorites that matter most to you will depend on the details of your home.


Portland Home Energy Score for real estate professionals



What are the key terms to understand?

  1. City of Portland Home Energy Score: Brand name of the program created by City of Portland ordinance (Portland City Code Chapter 17.108).
  2. Home Energy Score: A 1-10 rating based on the physical characteristics or "assets" of the home.
  3. Home Energy Report: A document that provides a Home Energy Score and additional information. Here's a sample Home Energy Report.
  4. Home Energy Assessor: An authorized City of Portland Home Energy Score program assessor.

What does the Portland Home Energy Score program require prior to listing a home?
Click here for a full rundown of the rules for listing (start on page 6). In brief, the seller needs to get a Home Energy Report, including a Home Energy Score, prior to listing a single-family home or townhome for sale in Portland after January 1, 2018. The score and report must be included in RMLS and any other online listings (e.g. Zillow, Redfin). The report must also be made available to buyers' agents and buyers that visit the home while it's publicly listed.


How do I upload a Home Energy Score to RMLS?
RMLS is developing a 1-step process for automatically populating Home Energy Scores into listings. A URL link to the Home Energy Report will be provided in the listing as part of the automated process, expected December 2017. To manually enter Home Energy Score data, go to the "GREEN / ENERGY SUPPLEMENT FORM". Next to "TYPE 1" enter HES (or "EPS" when applicable for new homes). Enter the score and date. You'll also need to upload a copy of the Home Energy Report, including both the front and back sides of the report.

Are there exemptions from the Portland Home Energy Score program?
This is one of the most common questions we get from Realtors. First, it's important to get clear about the "covered buildings" that are required to get a Home Energy Score. A covered building includes any residential structure containing at least one dwelling unit or house, regardless of size, on its own lot in the City of Portland. A covered building does not include: (1) multiple housing units that are stacked vertically, such as an apartment or multifamily structure; (2) detached accessory dwelling units or manufactured dwellings, such as mobile homes or residential trailers; or (3) single dwelling units used solely for commercial purposes. For a full list of exepmtions, see the bottom of page 8 in the administrative rules.

How do I apply for an exemption to the Portland Home Energy Score program?
At least 10-days prior to listing, email the Director of the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability at HESinfo@portlandoregon.gov. Be sure to include the subject line, “City of Portland Home Energy Score Program Exemption Request”. Be sure to include the reason for exemption and any supporting documentation. You'll get a receipt after the Director receives your email. The City has 10 business days to verify documentation and let you know if your request for exemption is denied. If you don't receive a written decision from the City within 10 days, then you should assume that your request is approved. It's worth mentioning that you have the option to use standard mail rather than email. Correspondence can be sent to: Attn: City of Portland Home Energy Score Program Exemption Request, Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, 1900 SW 4th Ave. Room 7100, Portland, OR 97201

How do I choose a Home Energy Assessor in Portland?
You can click here for a list of authorized Home Energy Assessors. When choosing an assessor, be sure to read reviews on Google, Yelp and Angie's List. Also check for credibility by asking about 3rd-party certifications. In particular, ask if an assessor is "BPI certified." While not legally required to provide a Home Energy Score, a certification from the Building Performance Institute (BPI) indicates that the assessor has a deeper understanding of building science principles. Here at GreenSavers, we have 13 team members with BPI certifications - more than any other contractor in Oregon.

How do I interpret a Home Energy Score for my clients?
The miles-per-gallon analogy is a good place to start. A Home Energy Score allows us to compare the energy use of different houses in the same way that a miles-per-gallon rating lets us compare the energy efficiency of different cars. The US Department of Energy maintains the home energy score rating system, which has been applied to more than 70,000 homes across the US. The bottom line - We have a consistent, transparent way to compare how homes use energy. As an example of how energy use varies across homes in Portland, consider the following:

House #1 House #2 House #3
Location NE 71st Ave NE 80th Ave SE 74th Ave
Year built 1922 1913 1912
Size (sq. ft.) 1,383 1,270 1,320
Annual energy cost $1,007 $1,686 $1,947
10-year energy cost $10,070 $16,860 $19,470

Is there a client-facing flyer about the Portland Home Energy Score?
Yes! Click here for a 1-page overview of what sellers need to know about the Portland Home Energy Score. It offers a general introduction and includes links that sellers can use to learn more.


How is a Home Energy Assessment different from a home inspection?
The first thing to say is that there's a difference in timing. A Home Energy Assessment happens right at the beginning, before a home is listed for sale. There's also a difference in focus. Home inspectors look primarily for defects in the home, things that have deteriorated or fail to meet building codes. They check to see if mechanical systems are functioning, but they are not required to evaluate how efficiently the systems operate. Nor are they required to make an overall evaluation of the home’s energy efficiency, which is the focus of a Home Energy Assessment. A couple guiding questions for Home Energy Assessors: (1) How much can a buyer expect to spend on energy bills based on various assets in the home, like insulation values, heating and cooling systems, water heating, and windows? (2) Which energy effiiency upgrades will have the best return on investment?

How long is a Home Energy Score active?
If the homeowner does not make energy-related upgrades, like installing insulation or swapping out a furnace, a Home Energy Score will stand for 8-years. After 2 years, the Home Energy Report will need to be updated with current rates for utilities and carbon emissions. This update does not require a new Home Energy Assessment, but rather, homeowners can directly access their home energy reports by visiting greenbuildingregistry.com and looking up their home address.

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What about new homes?
New homes that meet the criteria for a "covered building" are required to get a Home Energy Score. But there's an exception made for newly constructed high performance homes currently using Energy Performance Scores (EPS). If you want to know more about how to apply for an EPS waiver, see page 9 of the Portland Home Energy Score Administrative Rules.

What are the benefits of the Portland Home Energy Score?
For sellers, the main benefit is an opportunity to recoup investments in energy efficiency upgrades at the time of sale. For buyers, the benefits include:

  • Better insight into the full costs of owning or renting a home;
  • Ability to compare energy costs and performance between homes;
  • Knowledge of potential home improvements in advance of purchase;
  • Access to additional mortgage products.

Are there penalties for non-compliance with the Portland Home Energy Score?
After the first violation, the Director of the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability will issue a written notice. If the issue persists after 90 days, there will be a civil penalty of $500. An additional penalty of $500 will accrue for every subsequent 180-day period during which the issue persists.