Partners: Elevate Energy, Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA)
This pilot sought to expand the amount of home energy information available to homebuyers with the goal of increasing participation in the ComEd Energy Efficiency Program.
The project team performed outreach to the real estate professional community in the ComEd service territory in the form of lunch-and-learns, trainings and affiliation with local real estate associations. Content was focused on energy efficiency program offerings and Energy eCompliance, a tool that provides access to home energy use information via real estate listings.
The project team also conducted focus groups with recent homebuyers to understand what energy efficiency features are most important to them. These findings were used to outline how ComEd can better integrate the residential real estate transaction into energy efficiency outreach strategies. The team also worked with Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED) to understand how Energy eCompliance is currently being used by homebuyers and sellers.
Results from the educational courses and focus groups found that while a majority of homebuyers want their real estate agents to talk to them about energy efficiency, many agents did not feel comfortable making claims about the benefits of energy efficiency improvements without third-party certifications.
From their assessment of the Energy eCompliance tool, the team concluded that the City of Chicago should update their energy disclosure ordinance to mandate the disclosure of utility bills at the time of listing a home to inform homebuyers on the total cost of homeownership before making a purchasing decision. Through this project, opportunities were also identified to tailor energy efficiency messaging to resonate with homebuyers in different generations. The project team recommended continuing to promote educational opportunities to real estate agents to help them understand and communicate the value of energy efficiency to their clients.