Home Energy Scores Required for Sellers in Corvallis

The Corvallis City Council voted 5–4 in favor of requiring sellers to disclose their homes’ energy efficiency. The new mandate will start April of 2023. The City hopes the energy score will persuade homeowners to invest in energy-efficient upgrades.  

Councilor Tracey Yee argues that the mandate doesn’t actually require anyone to do anything. She said the energy upgrades would end up being on the buyer anyway.  

Councilor Hyatt Lytle compared the ordinance to rating cars’ gas mileage: “Where would we be if we never had scoring of miles per gallon for cars?” she said. “We’d still be driving 12 miles per gallon. And it took a little while to move the needle, but hey, it really moved the needle after a while. And perhaps this program does that. And I think it will.” 

Lytle, along with Councilors Charlyn Ellis, Gabe Shepard, Charles Maughan, and Paul Shaffer, voted in favor. Council members Jan Napack, Laurie Chaplen, Andrew Struthers, and Yee voted against. 

Arguments against the ordinance came from council members who wanted to see it voluntary, not mandatory, and that there was not enough data yet from cities who had required it. 

“There have been many efforts to make this program a voluntary program, and it just hasn’t stuck,” Lytle said. “This has been in our planning as a city and a community, and I think this ordinance is stewardship of that planning.” 

According to the ordinance, if a homeowner violates this requirement, and doesn’t disclose the energy score, the homeowner would be responsible for up to $500, not the buyer. There was discussion of possibly including the fine in closing costs. 

Portland was the first city in Oregon to require energy scores, followed by Milwaukie and Hillsboro, which is where the City of Corvallis modeled its ordinance after the most. Eugene has a voluntary program.  

By Peggy Perdue 

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