In a move directly addressing the growing demand for energy efficient homes, the Home Building Professionals of Greater Omaha (Nebraska) and the local Omaha Board of REALTORS® are incorporating HERS® Index Scores into the Omaha Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
The Home Building Professionals of Greater Omaha recently launched their Certified High Performance Home Program, which requires homes to achieve a HERS Index Score of 65 or less in order to qualify. The scores are determined by an energy rating that is conducted by a certified Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) Home Energy Rater.
Homes qualifying under the program are issued with High Performance Home Certificates that also include the HERS Index Score. So far, 36 Omaha builders have signed onto the program, and it is estimated that anywhere from 400 to 500 homes will be labeled through the program in 2013. The HERS Index Scores for these homes will be included when they are listed on the Omaha MLS.
This action signifies a major step forward in the marketing of energy efficient homes and an acknowledgement that consumers are actively seeking out homes based on HERS Index Scores. The MLS is the major resource used by REALTORS® and real estate agents to access information about homes for sale.
According to RESNET’s Executive Director Steve Baden, “Including the HERS Index Score in the MLS is a significant push to the mainstreaming of the HERS Index Score in the housing market in Omaha. REALTORS® rely on the MLS to guide potential homebuyers and appraisers use the service to locate comparable properties. Having this information will make it easier for builders to market their HERS Index Scores and appraisers to calculate the market value of rated homes.”
The Omaha MLS joins a growing number of MLS’s across the United States in creating what is essentially a “green” category for energy efficient homes that have been HERS rated. Examples of this trend include Portland, Oregon, which has had a green category in their MLS for a while, and the Colorado MLS, which recently started incorporating HERS Index scored homes under a green section as well.