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Bend may require home energy score before home sales

It's already mandatory in Portland

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Bend City Council's new Climate Action Plan may require homeowners get a "home energy score" before selling their homes, and that mandatory aspect has brought some strong opposition.

The home energy score certification has already been implemented in Portland and other Oregon cities.

The Climate Action Plan is designed to lower the city's greenhouse gas emissions. Part of that plan focuses on homes, as 29% of the city's greenhouse gases comes from residences, while 22% comes from commercial buildings and 36%  from transportation.

The energy score would require homeowners who are selling their houses to pay a fee to have their house checked for its energy usage. That fee has not been determined, but homeowners in Portland are paying between $150 and $250.

Cassie Lacy, a senior management analyst with the city of Bend, explained the basics of the home certification.

“The Home Energy Score kind of works like a "nutrition fact" for your home or like a mile per gallon rating,” Lacy said. “It allows consumers to understand the different type (of) homes they will buy, from an energy perspective.”

The energy score would not be conducted by the city, but a third party. The score would help buyers see information costs during winter and summer months. The current proposal would have homes scored on a scale of  1-10, with 10 being the most energy-efficient.

A higher score could increase market interest, but may not necessarily change the value, according to Scott Besaw, a principal broker at Stellar Realty Northwest.

“I don’t think it’s actually increasing home value, but for some people, it is something they are specifically looking for,” said Besaw. “If it's something home buyers are really concerned about, they may pay more attention to those scores than others.”

The proposal has come with controversy. A living wage in Bend is a hot topic and adding a couple of hundred dollars to that has caused some outcry from the city's economic development advisory board and area Realtors. They have expressed support for such efforts on a voluntary or incentivized basis, but not a requirement.

Some councilors also have voiced misgivings about moving in that direction.

A new group fighting the possibility of a mandatory home energy score, Affordable Bend, released the below statement through its website.

"Here in Bend, we care about our environment, climate change, and affordable housing. When the City told us its climate action plan was voluntary, we supported it. But now the City's plan is public, and it requires homeowners to pay hundreds of dollars for a home energy score before they sell their home. This mandate will make housing in Bend even more expensive than it already is and will have no impact on our climate. Go to affordablebend.com to let Bend City Councilors know that you oppose the costly, and ineffective, Home Energy Score mandate in the climate action plan."

The City Council is scheduled to vote on the plan on Wednesday, Dec. 4. Between now and then, the council will have further discussion and work to refine the proposed home energy score project through community feedback.

Bend / Central Oregon / Top Stories

Jordan Williams

Jordan Williams is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jordan here.

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