Energy Ratings for Realtors & Real Estate Agents

Published on July 31, 2018

Today, most homes (both old and new) consume less energy than even a decade ago. Whether it’s through improved insulation or the desire to weatherproof against the heat of Ontario summers or the frigidness of our winters, homeowners are focused on improving their home’s energy rating. This occurs either as a by-product of their upgrades, or intentionally, depending on their level of knowledge of energy ratings. As a real estate agent, you are in the position to help buyers – and owners – better understand the homes they are buying and selling.

For this reason, we’ve compiled a list of 8 reasons why energy ratings are beneficial for real estate agents and the people they serve.

1. Building Codes Are Progressive

In the next decade, provincial legislation will put even more demands on home energy performance. An energy rating is derived from a energy evaluation, and with airtightness testing as part of the equation, home builders and realtors all paying attention. As building codes progress to require increasingly better energy ratings, older homes have an opportunity to leverage these ratings while keeping their coziness and charm. For new homes, it proves that they were built to the standards expected in today’s building industry. Energy ratings increase the transparency of how the home was built, and you can rest assured that buyers will be grateful for understanding what they are purchasing.

2. Homeowner’s Expectations Are Changing

For home buyers, energy efficiency in a potential property has become a requisite – whether they are aware of it or not. Home buyers are seeking homes that perform better than their last, or will leave them with happy memories of their first. Simply put, an airtight home translates into less energy consumption and reduced energy bills. For a realtor, an airtight home is a great selling feature, mainly because much of the energy efficiency work has already been done. One way or another, it all starts with airtightness testing, and positive results that confirm a strong energy rating. These lead to a more comfortable experience in the home.

3. Give A Complete Picture

Air leakage in a “building envelope” is the primary cause of poor energy performance and poor energy efficiency. As such, having an airtight home addresses both performance and efficiency.   

Airtightness, along with proper ventilation, will provide greater seasonal comfort, more balanced indoor temperatures, and better indoor moisture control. New home or old, it’s the better way. An energy rating takes everything about the home into consideration – including the mechanicals and ventilation. The report in itself can be a conversation opener to explore questions that the buyers may never knew they had – creating another unique selling feature.

4. Increase Selling Potential

For airtightness testing, energy efficiency experts (like Barrier Sciences Group) use a “blower door test”. This is a proven assessment of a home’s airtightness capacity, measuring “air changes per hour” throughout the “building envelope”. By measuring air infiltration and exfiltration, you can find areas of the home to make energy efficiency improvement and increase its energy rating. This goes beyond the scope of Air Changes per Hour – it also includes appliances, heating and cooling systems, and more. This gives the buyer an idea of how much energy will be used, and how much can be saved if the upgrades are taken.

5. An Added Selling Feature

For realtors, airtightness testing can be an added selling feature, highlighting the energy performance of the property. For the home buyer, energy efficiency translates into seasonal comfort, reduced energy usage, and lower bills (heating and cooling). At Barrier Sciences Group, in house experts can provide the reliable testing and objective reporting. The seller will receive a complete EnerGuide report that shows – and explains – the energy rating, which you can use as a selling tool with prospective buyers.

6. Give the Buyers a Comfortable Experience

In short, poor airtightness compromises comfort. There are usually temperature and humidity issues to deal with. In winter, there are drafty areas because heat is escaping and cold air is entering. In summer, air-conditioned air is escaping, while warm outdoor air is entering. Poor airtightness is simply a recipe for wasting heating and cooling. Having a high energy rating is proof to buyers that the home will be comfortable the day they move in.

7. Make it Comparable and Unique

You may be wondering about the impact that a lower energy rating has on selling home. The EnerGuide report compares the home to a new home of similar nature, so direct correlations cannot be drawn beyond what would be expected if the same home was built to existing building code. The report also includes ways to improve the energy rating, so the buyer will already have an action plan set in place before the purchase. There are also other considerations, such as the aesthetics of the estate, location, and more.

8. Visualize Energy Consumption

Because of the dynamics, poor airtightness translates into increased energy use. It can get quite costly for a homeowner and can also have a negative effect on the environment. Even when a home is well insulated, poor building airtightness will inevitably affect the performance integrity of the insulation. Worse still, the HVAC system will be overworked. The EnerGuide report includes how much energy, in gigajoules per year, the home is expected to consume. It also includes a breakdown of where the energy consumption is expected to come from. This adds a great deal of transparency to the sale.

9. A Centerpiece for Discussion

Most people aren’t familiar with what an energy rating, but as mentioned earlier, everyone knows what energy ratings feel like. By displaying the energy rating in the open – such as on the kitchen table – you can create a different experience for your buyers. They may even start to wonder why other real estate agents aren’t displaying an energy rating. Plus, because you are presenting the data, you are able to frame the information in a compelling way that highlights the high qualities and traits of the home you are selling.

10. Tell A Story About the Home

By framing the qualities of the home through its energy rating, you can create an experience for the buyer before they commit to the purchase. Every item described by the energy rating has a story. The new windows will save the buyer some money on energy bills, and increase their comfort; the older windows have that charm that can’t be bought anymore, but the buyer can still increase their comfort with some window insulation. For every energy rating, there’s a story to be told.

Energy evaluations and airtightness testing fromBarrier Sciences Group

Barrier Sciences Group assesses building airtightness, identifies problems, and recommends upgrades and retrofits. For real estate agents, the assurance of an airtight residential property accompanied with an energy rating can enhance the selling listing for homeowners eager to purchase an energy efficient property. Contact BSG at 866-333-3920 to find out how we can partner and increase the value of the homes you sell.

The Canada Greener Homes Grant offers home efficiency renovation grants up to $5,000.

Homeowners Canada-wide are eligible for the Canada Greener Homes Grant, announced on May 27, 2021. This new incentive offers up to $5,000 in grants for home efficiency retrofit renovations, plus a $600 reimbursement for pre- and post-work EnerGuide evaluations. Eligible retrofit scopes include home insulation, heating, doors, windows, photovoltaic solar panels, resiliency measures, and thermostats.

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