Home inspections to ensure safety and structural soundness long have been part
of the home-buying process and real-estate taxes and home insurance costs regularly have been accounted for in mortgage underwriting calculations. But one major cost to homeowners has been left in the dark at the time of sale — the cost of the energy needed to run a new home.
Several jurisdictions in the United States have recently adopted residential energy use disclosure policies. A recent American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy report, “Residential Energy Use Disclosure: A Review of Existing Policies,” sheds light on the subject.
Residential energy use disclosure is a promising policy option for a number of reasons, the report states, including how it might motivate people to address valuation of energy-efficient homes in the home sale process; how it can encourage energy-efficiency upgrades for sellers aiming to make their home stand out in the market and/or for new buyers; and how it can generate information needed for better valuation of energy-efficiency improvements in a home for appraisals and mortgage underwriting.