Earth Advantage launches program to guarantee energy bills for green homes
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Earth Advantage Institute is offering a guarantee on home energy bills for certified homes.
Earth Advantage Institute believes so strongly in its green home certifications that it will offer a three-year guarantee that the energy bills of certified homes won't exceed those forecasted in the certification report.
The Portland-based green building nonprofit took the wraps off its Energy Bill Guarantee program last week and is just starting to market it to builders that certify homes through the institute.
The cost of the guarantee is $200 per home to be paid by the builder and offered as an amenity to the homebuyer.
Earth Advantage guarantees for three years that the energy bills for heating, cooling, things plugged in to outlets and appliances will not exceed estimates laid out by one of two green home certifications: Energy Trust of Oregon's Energy Performance Score or RESNET's Home Energy Rating System. If the homeowner gets a bill that comes in higher than what's been guaranteed — assuming the home isn't being used to house a commercial enterprise or an addition or hot tub hasn't been added to the mix —Earth Advantage will pay the difference.
Peter Brown, Earth Advantage's director of residential programs, said the program was modeled after similar guarantees offered by Portland-based Legend Homes and Colorado-based Energy Logic. But Brown noted that those guarantees only cover heating and cooling costs, while the Earth Advantage program offers more comprehensive coverage.
"We're the first green building program that we know of to offer this kind of guarantee," Brown said.
The institute is just starting to market the guarantee to its certified builders. Last year builders working Earth Advantage certified 797 homes last year, up from 602 homes in 2010. Brown estimates that close to 900 homes will be certified by the institute this year.
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