Since Jan. 1 the city of Portland has required a “home energy score” to be part of the documentation that a homeowner must include when selling a single-family home.
Corvallis does not have such a requirement, but a sustainability-savvy resident and her Realtor are trying to jump-start the concept here.
Marge Stevens, who is in the process of selling her home on Northwest Highland Drive, arranged to have a home energy score produced for her house and she made the results — as well as copies of her gas and electric bills — available to potential buyers.
She scored a nine out of 10 on the energy audit, performed by Zach Erdmann of Premium Efficiency of Eugene. Stevens lost points for some air and ceiling weatherization and insulation issues, but she and Realtor Debi Friedlander think that having the energy rating was a definite selling point for the home.
They have a potential buyer lined up and hope to close by the end of the month.
The binder that shows the floor plan and vital stats of the house also include Stevens’ power bills. She has paid a total of $206 for natural gas in the past 14 months and her electricity bill essentially consists of the $10 monthly hookup fee.
Stevens, a longtime activist with the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition and a member of the city’s Climate Action Advisory Board, said she wants to encourage others to make their homes for energy-efficient.
“I’m hoping to be a test case in a way,” Stevens said. “I’m interested in this and it’s important to me.”
Friedlander, of Windermere Real Estate, said having the “solid evidence” of the energy score helped establish the appeal of the house. She also said she hopes that some day the energy score can be integrated into the information that agents share on properties, thus giving buyers the option to comparison shop on energy efficiency.
Stevens has owned the 1,300-square-foot home for 22 years. In that period she has made the following energy-efficient upgrades:
• Added a water heater with a heat pump.
• Replaced the furnace.
• Put solar panels on the roof.
• Added insulation to the walls and ceiling.
• Removed the lawn and put in an “edible yard.”
• Installed a rainwater collection system that provides all of her irrigation needs via a pair of 1,500-gallon tanks.
• Replaced the windows with thermal pane Fiberglas.
Stevens has a washing machine but no dryer. She points out the back door of her utility room to a clothes line which she refers to as her “solar dryer.” Her kitchen does not include a dishwasher or garbage disposal.
She is moving to an 800-square-foot house that she will share.
“I wanted to lower my carbon footprint,” she said. “Square footage makes a difference and one person in a 1,300-square-foot house doesn’t make sense.”
Will Stevens’ approach catch on in Corvallis?
“I think that demand will lead the way,” Friedlander said.
“Will people do it voluntarily?” Stevens said. “I think it would happen faster if there is an ordinance.”