Energy Code Resources
Gaining a full understanding of the state context and relevant building energy codes is important, as is a consideration of regional and neighboring-state policies. The following resources can help local and state officials to review relevant energy codes and standards:
According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE; http://aceee.org/sector/local-policy/toolkit/residential-disclosure), stakeholders involved in an effective discussion of building energy labeling should collectively represent homeowners, real estate agents and appraisers (and other real estate professionals), and utilities and any energy efficiency program operators. The following are links to key stakeholder and industry groups to consider engaging:
- Home builders. The U.S. Green Building Council is accelerating its profile in the green homes market, and is an advocacy and research organization with members nationwide. It also offers a directory of green raters for the residential market. (https://new.usgbc.org/leed) The Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) is a not-for-profit, membership corporation that is a recognized national standards-making body for building energy efficiency rating and certification systems in the United States. Home Energy Rating System (HERS) index scores can only be generated by RESNET accredited Home Energy Raters. To find RESNET professionals near you visit: http://www.resnet.us/directory/search
- Real estate agents. The dominant U.S. membership organization for residential real estate professionals is the National Association of REALTORS®. (https://www.nar.realtor/). Other real estate professional associations are worth considering, too, depending on demographic characteristics of a state or local region.
- Real estate appraisers. The leading membership organization for certified appraisers is the National Association of Real Estate Appraisers (http://www.narea-assoc.org/). It regularly provides guidelines, regulation updates, and interpretation of trends to its members. The Appraisal Institute, an international association of real estate appraisers, is an advocacy organization promoting equal opportunity and nondiscrimination in the profession (https://www.appraisalinstitute.org/about/). It is a well-respected information resource to the profession. Another key resource is the Appraisal Foundation, a congressionally authorized “source of appraisal standards and appraiser qualifications” (https://www.appraisalfoundation.org/). It offers authoritative information on the valuation profession. It sets standards and qualifications for appraisers, and “provides voluntary guidance on recognized valuation methods and techniques for all valuation professionals.” Through its guidance, the profession strives to ensure that appraisals are independent, consistent, and objective.
- Mortgage bankers. Links to mortgage bankers, by state and local jurisdiction, can be found at the Mortgage Bankers Association website, https://www.mba.org/who-we-are/state-and-local-associations. The association represents the real estate finance industry, and undertakes research and advocacy on state legislative and regulatory matters.
- Electric utilities. The U.S. Energy Information Administration offers data on utility sales and revenue, and within that information, offers lists of utilities in a spreadsheet. Wikipedia also offers a list of electricity utilities throughout the United States, by state: (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_electric_companies). The page contains links to each utility.
- Energy efficiency programs. A list of energy efficiency programs, by state, can be found at the DSIRE website: http://www.dsireusa.org/. A list of Home Performance with Energy Star programs can be found here: https://www.energystar.gov/campaign/improvements/find_local_help/full_list
General Resources for Local Energy Planning
Steps states can take to support city-based home energy labeling initiatives. Earth Advantage, a residential energy and labeling nonprofit, documented best practices State Energy Offices and other state-wide organizations can take to if interested in increasing residential energy labeling through local government action. A home energy labeling program may be out of reach for local governments but state-level offices can play a role in removing real and perceived barriers. The document outlines a procedure states can follow to enable a home energy labeling framework in their state: Define the State’s Role, Set the Rules, Enable Statewide Energy Labeling Infrastructure, and Analyze and Educate.
Policy guides. American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) offers two key documents relating to home energy labeling, and a wide list of relevant resources for further information:
- Residential Energy Use Disclosure: A Guide for Policymakers also contains links to essential information for local energy planning, improving access to energy use data, local government practices for leading by example, and other supporting material for launching a residential labeling policy.
- State Technical Assistance Toolkit is a library of resources offering information on facilitating effective and successful program and policy development and deployment. It is also known as the ACEEE Policy Toolkit.
Understanding what the real estate industry knows about home labeling and energy efficiency. The Council of Multiple Listing Services, the National Association of REALTORS, and the Real Estate Standards Organization worked with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Home Energy Information Accelerator to create the Home Energy Information Guide, which addresses ways for real estate professionals to make “the invisible visible,” by illuminating the value of home energy to their clients. It is essentially a primer on how multiple listing services can meet customer demand for energy efficiency. It offers guidelines on informing customers about energy efficiency and how to communicate its value as an investment at time of sale or purchase. https://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.councilofmls.org/resource/resmgr/docs/news/HEIG/HEIG2017.pdf
A home energy blueprint for many stakeholders, including local governments. Elevate Energy, a provider of regional energy efficiency programs, is a nationally recognized facilitator for aligning the “process, players, and assets needed to make energy efficiency value visible” during real estate transactions. With the Home Performance Council, it has published “The Visible Value Blueprint,” known formally as Unlocking the Value of an Energy Efficient Home. This primer outlines seven steps for unlocking the value of energy efficiency among real estate professionals. It is particularly written for state energy offices, energy efficiency program implementers, the real estate industry, utilities, architects and designers, home rates, building scientists, and nongovernment agencies.
Sample home energy labeling tool. Efficiency Vermont, a statewide energy efficiency utility, offers the Vermont Home Energy Profile, a tool that summarizes home energy efficiency via estimated annual energy use, estimated annual costs, and a national energy efficiency score. https://www.efficiencyvermont.com/homeenergyprofile
Home Energy Information Pamphlet. Efficiency Vermont, the Vermont Building Energy Labeling Working Group and Vermont Realtors developed a two-page “Home Energy Information Pamphlet” to provide to home buyers that includes information on Vermont home energy use, upgrades and program resources. Vermont Realtors hand out this Pamphlet as part of the home purchase process. The Pamphlet has also been the model referenced in legislation introduced by the Vermont Legislature that would require disclosure of energy information at the time of home purchase. Below is a sample pamphlet from 2018.
Vermont Realtors’ Seller’s Property Information Report (SPIR). Vermont Realtors® provides their members with a six-page report that they ask each home seller to complete in order to detail the condition and history of all aspect of the homes they represent. This “Seller’s Property Information Report” (or SPIR) ensures full disclosure for all parties. The Vermont Building Energy Labeling Working Group worked with the Vermont Realtors to update the SPIR in a few areas, including the “Mechanical, Electrical, Appliances and Other Systems” and the “Additional Information Concerning this Property” sections. To the latter, Vermont Realtors added a new question related to energy transparency that states: “Has the property received a home energy audit/assessment/rating/profile? If yes, when: ? by whom: ?” For more information, contact Vermont Realtors at www.vermontrealtors.com/contact/
 See EIA, “Electric power sales, revenue, and energy efficiency Form EIA-861 detailed data files.” https://www.eia.gov/electricity/data/eia861/. Local utility information can be found via the “Year” link to a ZIP file containing a spreadsheet, “Utility data.”