Energize Your Home Inspection: The Power of Energy Reports

April 1, 2024

Home Inspectors

Are home inspectors missing out by not offering home energy reports?

In today’s real estate market, comfort and efficiency have become important factors for homebuyers. Energy use in homes is one of the largest sources of carbon emissions and energy costs account for roughly 15% of an average homeowner’s monthly mortgage. 

As climate concerns continue to grow, there’s also more demand for homes that offer a cleaner footprint. The 2023 National Association of Realtors Survey on Sustainability revealed a clear preference among homebuyers for energy efficient homes: 63% of realtors found energy efficiency promotion in listings valuable, and 75% of homebuyers indicated that the home’s utility bill was an important factor when purchasing a home. 

The shift towards sustainability is about both environmental responsibility, and also, about recognizing energy-related improvements as a valuable investment. Homes equipped with solar panels, Energy Star appliances, adequate insulation, smart technologies, and green labels are demanding higher prices and setting a new standard in real estate. 

Unlock the Benefits: Why Home Inspectors Should Embrace Energy Reports

The home energy report emerges as a pivotal tool to educate homebuyers on the many benefits of living in an energy efficient home. Beyond a standard inspection, the energy report delves into the full energy profile of a property—be it through outdated appliances, air leaks, or inadequate insulation. The report also charts a path towards improvement, highlighting potential savings, available rebates and tax incentives, and even special financing options. 

The inclusion of an energy report can unlock doors to green financing, enabling homebuyers to seamlessly integrate the costs of energy upgrades into their mortgages. Timing is an important consideration; green mortgages can only be supported when an energy report is available to homebuyers before loan closing. Unlocking this financing option makes the entire process more simple and affordable for homebuyers. 

With home inspections often being undervalued, the ability to present homebuyers with ways to save money, improve comfort, reduce emissions, and also make their home healthier and safer is a product that is worth considering. 

No Extra Training, Just Added Value

For home inspectors, the leap to including energy reports doesn't have to require additional training. Current qualifications are sufficient to produce a basic yet comprehensive energy report.

Inspectors seeking to deepen their expertise have a wealth of resources at their disposal, from the Building Performance Institute's continuing education credits to the DOE Home Energy Score Program. These programs not only enhance the inspector's skill set but also enrich the quality of information provided in the energy reports. For example, BPI’s Building Analyst Technician or Infiltration & Duct Leakage training enable air infiltration or blower door results to be included on energy reports. These results are notably helpful for heat pump sizing and air sealing recommendations.  

Thermal imaging is also helpful for spotting damaged insulation, air leaks, or moisture build-up. These courses can be pursued by home inspectors to satisfy continuing education credits. 

Seizing the Moment: The Rise of Energy-Conscious Markets 

As regulatory landscapes evolve, particularly in states like California and regions like the Pacific Northwest and Northeast, the value of offering energy reports is becoming increasingly evident. With policies mandating energy assessments and disclosures, inspectors who adapt now are positioning themselves at the forefront of a significant shift. 

Furthermore, incentives like the Inflation Reduction Act's HOMES and HEEHRA programs are set to inject new momentum into the clean energy transition of residential homes. Home inspectors stand at a critical juncture, where offering energy reports not only aligns with consumer demand but also contributes to the broader goal of sustainable living.

Joule's proprietary platform provides the tools to harness the power of energy intelligence, and we are ready to support inspectors in this journey. For those looking to make a difference—one home at a time—exploring the potential of energy reports is a step towards a more sustainable future.