Your Home Energy Ratings Report Card

They love it! your realtor says
And your heart, it swells.

We're going to sell,
Their financing's through, they love the pool...
But wait! Don't pop the cork too soon,

You're not done with the woo-and-court,
There's something new they want to see:

Your Home Energy Rating Report.

What if the report card isn't good?!
Your oldish house has uninsulated wood,
Your windows drafty, doors not sealed -
What happens then to your sweet
House selling deal?


This could describe your home selling scenario - and not that far in the future, if you live in certain provinces.

Ontario's Home Energy Rating Act takes effect in just 3 months - starting with building owners, and extending to owners of detached or semi-detached homes 1 year later (Jan. 2011). British Columbia starts a pilot project in energy performance labeling of homes and buildings in 2010.

The United Kingdom has already implemented time-of-sale energy labeling to protect consumers in the face of global energy inflation. Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) have been required in the UK since 2008 on houses that are being sold, built or rented.

Something Else to Check While House Shopping

As a buyer - as if it wasn't hard enough buying a new home -  weighing price, location and features  - now you and your realtor have to also assess the difference in the eco-energy performance of the house listings you like. Getting a home inspection won't be enough, not for most buyers. And, as a home seller, you'll have to pay more attention to energy-staging your home now, rather than just prettying up the drapes and spraying muffin scent around the rooms.

Only government-sanctioned, professional home auditors can inspect your home for the state of insulation, appliances, heating and cooling systems, doors/windows, and lighting. Getting a home audit and subsequent report isn't cheap - costing, on average, $350. The federal government will give you half that cost back - after you finish all your energy retrofits and submit them for review.

You receive a long audit report, listing your home's current EnerGuide rating, the EnerGuide number you should be striving for, and all the steps needed to be taken to get there. You don't have to make those retrofits and improvements to your home - that's your call. Not a bad idea, though, if you want to attract more buyers and get top selling price for your home. But you DO have to make the energy audit report available, so buyers can see what they're getting themselves into, energy-wise.

Energy is the 2nd Price Tag of any Home

Realtor Chris Chopik, who writes the EcoHome newsletter, makes some interesting points - both for and against - the Home Energy Rating Act of Ontario (aka Bill 101), in his article, "Time-of-Sale Energy Labeling." He notes that there is an emerging understanding, globally, that “energy is the second price tag of any house”.

While Chopik recognizes that Bill 101 is "designed to protect the quality of life of Ontarians in the face of rising energy prices," he says the mandatory energy rating is an additional expense that home sellers and buyers can hardly bear, on top of "commissions, taxes, staging, and legal fees."

What do you think?

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3 Comments
October 12, 2009
3:29 PM

Having attended a recent home energy audit, I think a lot of people with older homes don't realize the number of energy issues exist in some homes. Even just a few unplugged brick weeping holes can equal having an entire window open all year round. I'm willingly taking my Eco Energy courses as we speak to be able to offer the best info possible to my clients. 2010 is the start date for new homes but 2011 it affects ALL resale spaces which will be a major shock to those whose last renovation was a welcome mat!!

January 24, 2010
9:30 AM

My husband and I got a home energy audit for our 60-year old drafty house in the summer of '09, and are working towards getting the max ecoEnergy Retrofit grant money from the Canadian and Ontario governments; we've spent on insulating our basement and our main floor, efficient toilets and a bunch more.
We're blogging about the whole experience at http://www.ecorenovate.ca

I like this blog post because it shows one of the goals of our energy efficiency quest: To get a better price for our home when we go to sell it! I like the idea of pulling out a stellar EnerGuide rating report to prospective buyers in a few years when we are ready to move.

Thanks for this post!

June 16, 2010
11:30 AM

Home energy rating for resale homes is a good idea.

As a home buyer, I want to know what my potential energy costs will be and what energy-efficiency opportunities exist in the house I am thinking of buying.

As a home seller, I should get more money for home if I've improved its energy-efficiency.

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