Home Energy Information Ordinance
The City of Montpelier has adopted a Home Energy Information Ordinance, which requires sellers of residential real estate to disclose the estimated energy use of the home at the time of sale. By Ordinance, as of July 1, 2022 Sellers are required to provide a Vermont Home Energy Profile (VHEP) when listing a home for sale. The profile provides key home energy insights for residents, sellers, realtors, and appraisers.
The Vermont Home Energy Profile can be completed online at https://www.clearlyenergy.com/vermont
The purpose of the ordinance is to provide information to homebuyers about residential building energy performance. This information is designed to protect consumers, to enable more knowledgeable decisions about the full costs of operating homes and to motivate investments in home improvements that lower energy bills, reduce carbon emissions, increase comfort, safety and health for homeowners.
Homeowners can identify energy- and cost-saving recommendations for home improvements, and receive a better valuation of existing energy efficiency features and improvements in the real estate market when selling their home.
Prospective homebuyers will gain more information about the operational costs of owning the houses under their consideration and receive a better valuation of existing energy efficiency features and improvements. This information can also be used in negotiating a mortgage rate.
Real estate professionals will be better informed on how energy efficient a home is, enabling them to more confidently market energy efficiency features.
The VHEP provides more transparency to homeowners, prospective buyers, and real estate professionals on the estimated energy use and costs of a home. This is similar to getting the miles per gallon (MPG) when looking at different cars in the market.
Useful Links and Documents:
The City’s Montpelier Energy Advisory Committee has compiled some helpful information and a step-by-step guide to filling out the Home Energy Profile here: https://www.netzeromontpelier.org/home-energy-information-ordinance
Full City Ordinances: https://www.montpelier-vt.org/578/Code-of-Ordinances
The City's Net Zero Action Plan
Montpelier Home Energy Information Ordinance Profile Certification Statement
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. What is the Vermont Home Energy Profile (VHEP)?
The VHEP provides estimated annual energy usage and costs for a home operated under standard conditions (including thermostat settings and occupancy), based on the physical attributes of the home. This is meant to provide an "apples-to-apples" comparison of home energy performance for homeowners and potential buyers. This is similar to getting the miles per gallon (MPG) when looking at different cars on the market.
2. What incentives and resources are available for energy efficiency upgrades?
VHEP provides links to organizations offering resources, rebates, and incentives for applicable energy efficiency measures. Efficiency Vermont offers a variety of rebates for residents across the state.
3. Does it cost anything to create a Vermont Home Energy Profile?
It is free to create the VHEP. However it costs $15 to file the single page Montpelier Certification Statement Sheet with the City Clerk.
4. Why was this ordinance adopted by the City?
Emissions from residential buildings make up a considerable portion of Montpelier’s carbon footprint. Home energy labeling stimulates the adoption of home energy improvements by informing homeowners of which measures might yield the most potential cost and energy savings for a particular property. Visible and accessible home energy information triggers these benefits, while achieving lower energy bills for residents, reduces carbon emissions in the city, and increases comfort, safety and health for homeowners. Montpelier seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also supporting affordability and transparency for residents by building knowledge of home energy needs.
5. What if I can only guess at the answers to some of the questions VHEP asks?
VHEP is intended to provide an “apples-to-apples” estimate for comparative and educational purposes. It does not require 100% accuracy for all data inputs and for most fields (except the utility data section), a “good faith” guess is acceptable.
6. What if I think the estimate generated by VHEP is not an accurate representation of my home?
The numbers generated reflect energy usage and costs for operation of a home under standard conditions. This includes things like thermostat settings and occupancy. It's possible that you may operate your home under non-standard conditions. If the number is wildly off, you may have entered information incorrectly. Users may add utility bill information to create a more accurate estimate. Users may also add a comment as an addendum to the Profile as an explanation. Users are encouraged to ask questions and report suspected issues via the contact form available at each step of the tool.
7. What if I prefer a more detailed in-home audit rather than the virtual estimate? What if I already have a home energy rating like HES or HERS?
Data from previous on-site assessments are included in VHEP. All Montpelier residents are required to generate a VHEP when listing their home for sale. Homeowners interested in a deeper assessment are encouraged to engage a contractor to obtain a Home Energy Score (HES). Those planning to build a new home are encouraged to explore the Home Energy Rating System (HERS).
8. What if I have community solar or pay an optional green charge through my utility?
If cost units don’t accurately represent your energy, you are able to add utility data in natural units. If the label generated still does not seem to accurately represent your home, users may add a comment as an addendum to the profile as an explanation. Users are encouraged to ask questions and report suspected issues via the contact form available at each step of the tool.
9. To what buildings does this requirement apply?
The ordinance requires all buildings whose primary use is residential create a VHEP at the time that they are listed for sale. This includes rental properties and mixed-use properties where residential is the primary use of the building.
10. What will ClearlyEnergy do with my data? Will it be sold?
None of your data will be sold. Compiled and aggregated data may periodically be shared with City Staff, the City Council, and the general public. This information will not be disseminated in any way that reveals individual homeowner or property address information.
11. Can I create a Vermont Home Energy Profile even if I'm not selling my home?
The VHEP is available to all Montpelier residents. This information is designed to enable more knowledgeable decisions about the full costs of operating homes and to motivate investments in home improvements that lower bills, reduce carbon emissions, and increase home comfort, safety, and health.