Massachusetts may pass a new home energy audit requirement, similar to established programs in Austin, Texas, Berkeley, Calif., and Portland, Ore. Other cities and states are expected to follow.
The home energy scorecard would be part of the traditional home selling process, and the ratings would be supplemented with recommendations for home energy improvements to raise scores. Massachusetts would offer homeowners rebates and incentives to help offset upgrade's costs, Realtor.com reports. Portland and Austin already have programs like this in place. Portland's went into effect in January, and Austin's had a home energy audit since 2009. Homes less than 10 years old are exempt from that program.
There is the potential that these energy ratings could stigmatize homes that perform poorly—leading sellers to undertake costly improvements or lower the price. But that hasn't happened in the European Union countries that have implemented these ratings. “The scorecards have not produced any negative or black mark on the value of a home with a low energy score,” says Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources' Antonio Barletta.