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Energy Code Sticker for Your Home

Imagine a day out new car shopping… There’s no information provided about the performance of any of the cars for sale. But, every lot has a salesman who assures you that their model is the most fuel efficient model on the road.

Hard to believe, but that is how we’ve been buying houses. Good news, this has changed in the state of Washington.

If you are a home owner or home buyer? Read on…

As of January 2011, the Washington State Energy Code has been updated with a juicy new requirements that will help level the playing field in terms of understanding the energy performance of one house versus another. It simply requires stating basic performance information.

Here’s what it says:

A permanent certificate must be placed within 3′ of the electrical panel that lists your R-Values, widow U-Values, heat type and duct leakage results as well as your envelope testing results.

What does this mean to me?

This is pretty exciting news for the home buyer and the home seller. The real estate industry confirms that a home with a higher energy performance will sell more quickly and at a higher price than a more conventionally built home. The sellers of an energy efficient home can quickly see the value in this. Buyers looking for a high performance home will now have a way to comparison shop. There are many homes stating green features or energy efficiency, but this will actually allow a person to compare apples to apples removing the guesswork.

In the past it would be nearly impossible to know what the performance value of the windows are, or walls, or “how leaky is the house” (which can be measured with a blower door test) much of that information ceases to exist once the installer drives away from the building site or the stickers are peeled off the windows just before move in day. These are basic pieces of information that are easily determined yet pack a huge punch on energy accountability. This is powerful information which will create more informed decisions by homeowners and home buyers in the immediate future.

Fortunately, this type of code language potentially not only addresses comfort and cost issues for individual owners and buyers, but, ultimately, it can have a net positive impact on the bigger regional conservation picture when we consider communities of higher performing houses.

There’s no question, energy efficient homes are here to stay and are only getting better as people are empowered to easily discern the difference between a high performing home and something less.