Imagine if when you were shopping for a new house, you were able to look at energy efficiency as a factor that was as easily quantifiable as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
A relatively new program being offered by the Center for Energy and the Environment and the Neighborhood Energy Connection is trying to make this happen by bringing energy efficiency clearly into the home buying process.
Their program, Energy Fit Homes, offers multi-point inspections of homes to identify how they are doing on the energy efficiency spectrum. They look at a home’s heating system, insulation and air sealing, windows, lighting, and ventilation and combustion safety to score the home on a scale of one to 100.
Homes that score 95 or above will be given an Energy Fit certification that can be used when it comes time to sell. Homes that still have some work to do will be given a report card that will rank the work in order of importance, and provide a list of possible government or utility company rebates available for the work. Once the work is completed, a second audit will be conducted to provide an updated score.
And once certification is achieved, homes can now be listed (and searched) on the real estate Northstar Multiple Listing Service (MLS) as green-certified, a designation that was added to the search process only last year.
While the audit is being marketed as a way to provide homeowners a leg up in the home selling process, the energy audit is equally useful for people who plan to stay in their homes. By making a few minor repairs and upgrades, people are finding that there are some fairly serious savings that can be realized.
There is a small cost associated with getting the audit performed, but the cost is generally earned back in savings soon after achieving certification.
More information on the project is available at http://www.mncee.org/Energy-Fit-Homes/Home/.