Use your EnerGuide report when marketing a home

Details in reports, not just the rating, can help sway a homebuyer

You put in extra insulation, quality windows, and sealed the house well. You had the home EnerGuide rated, and maybe have a green label on it.

But if you're like many builders, you may be overlooking a great opportunity to gain marketing value from your energy efficiency efforts. 

"A lot of builders get their EnerGuide reports, but mostly what they pay attention to is the EG score," says Doug Overholt, representative for BC Hydro's Power Smart New Home program. "They don't realize the wealth of information that's in the reports, both for the builder, and the buyer."

EnerGuide provides two reports, a "full" report, which runs about 18 pages, and a "house" report of about eight pages, which is addressed to the home buyer.

The report explains the EnerGuide rating, and gives a breakdown of energy consumption by end uses within the house (space heating, hot water, and lights and appliances). It also provides an assessment of the areas where heat is most easily lost from the home.

Report can help estimate annual energy costs

Of particular interest to a new homeowner — and therefore, worth some marketing value — is the report's estimate of the total annual energy consumption of the home, including electricity, natural gas, oil and propane.

A builder can easily translate those into estimated annual energy costs — and give their buyer a number they can both take to their banker (to ensure their efficient carrying costs are reflected in mortgage applications) and use to plan their monthly bills.

"I think these house reports don't get used enough during the sales conversation because there's a disconnect happening," says Overholt. "The builder receives the reports, but these key pieces of information don't always trickle through to the sales team. Or, the sales folks don't really understand them and know how to use them.

"But they have a lot of value — they underscore that energy efficiency makes a difference to the buyer's financial picture, and they're an extra tool for demonstrating that you're offering a quality home."

Of course, some sales teams do make energy efficiency a part of their marketing pitch — see the profile of Platinum Homes.

Improved reports on the way

The EnerGuide rating system is undergoing revisions that will see a new scoring system — and improved reports.

Under the new system, a home's EnerGuide score will be directly correlated to its annual energy consumption. A lower number will indicate lower energy costs — making the scoring more intuitive and easier to promote to a buyer.

"The new report is quite well done," says Overholt, who has seen draft versions. "It's got nice graphics, and it really illustrates on one page how the home will operate."

Overholt says some leading builders track their homes' performance over time, enlisting homeowners in providing feedback via surveys. But for those who don't have proof that their home won't be an energy pig, the EnerGuide house report is solid information to put in a buyer's hands.

"In an environment where around two thirds of mortgages are high ratio mortgages, with not a large down payment, operating costs are very important," says Overholt. "Being able to offer the EnerGuide house report to buyers is one more good reason to get your builds EnerGuide rated."

Want help reading your EnerGuide reports? Talk to your Certified Energy Advisor.

For more information contact your New Home Program Advisor, Doug Overholt.