The changing climate and the current pandemic are increasingly highlighting the cost of energy in homes. According to a recent study by Sense Home Energy Monitor, California homes’ electrical usage has increased by 9.3%, resulting in a rise in annual utility bill spending by approximately $161 in 2020. This is a “reflection of people using more electricity while they stayed home, combined with wildfires and heatwaves.” The rise in energy costs makes it clear that it is now more important than ever to be focusing on energy efficiency in our homes. In fact, energy efficient homes are key to helping create and preserve affordable housing stock since reducing the cost of energy reduces the monthly burden for residents. There are many other co-benefits of an energy efficient homes including increased comfort and healthier indoor air quality. Hence, it is no surprise that the demand for more efficient homes is growing.
But how do we know if a home is energy efficient since there is not a standardized method of recognizing (and valuing!) a home’s energy performance? BayREN is assisting homeowners in answering this question through the Green Labeling program. Through a partnership with the Department of Energy, BayREN’s Home Energy Score (HES), lets homeowners and renters understand the energy efficiency of their homes on a 10-point scale and provides customized recommendations for upgrades that will help to increase the score. Assessors are paid a $200 rebate from BayREN for a HES score and report. Last year, more than 1,400 homes were scored! Customers can then consult with a BayREN Energy Advisor to identify the best approach to upgrade their homes and take advantage of current incentives and financing. Residents that implement recommended upgrades can use their updated score to improve their home value in the real estate market. You can get started on a Home Energy Score through the BayREN page.
The value of energy efficient homes has been growing in the housing market. According to the National Association of REALTORs (NAR), 94% of home buyers rate energy efficiency as an important part of their home-buying decisions. BayREN's NAR Green Real Estate Classes train real estate professionals about the benefits of an energy efficient home and how to communicate the value of a green home. Attendees gain the tools to be able to quantify the value of an energy efficient home and how best to connect their customers to homeowner programs, including incentives and financing - all vital skills in the growing green housing market. This is currently the only green designation for real estate agents conferred by the National Association of REALTORS. In response to the record number of attendees in our classes in 2020, BayREN will be providing even more trainings in 2021. Looking to sharpen your skills? Check out the BayREN calendar for future home and real estate trainings.