In 2015, the City of Berkeley passed the Building Emissions Saving Ordinance (BESO), which mandated energy assessments (Department of Energy’s Home Energy Score) at time of sale. BESO replaced Berkeley’s old RECO ordinance, getting rid of RECO’s mandatory energy savings measures, and replacing them with assessments that score homes on a 1-10 scale and provide recommendations to encourage homeowners to make energy performance improvements. The City of Piedmont has a similar program.

What is Involved?
Our assessor will visit the property to take measurements to create a diagram of each floor level. The diagram includes information about the size and type of windows and doors, as well as the direction they face. The assessor will also record equipment, such as the furnace and water heater, and note insulation levels. The on-site portion of the assessment typically takes 1-1.5 hours. The assessor will then enter the necessary information into the DOE’s Home Energy Score system. While the assessor will have the report done in a day or two, it can take up to an additional 4-5 days for the third party reviewer and the City of Berkeley to turn the report around. 

Preparing Your Home
Our assessor will measure the doors and windows, enter the attic and crawl space (which can sometimes be locked or blocked by personal items) and review the heating system, water heater, and electrical panels.  Please make sure to provide adequate access to these areas so we can complete the assessment.

What is the Cost?
Since our assessor has to take measurements and collect data for each floor level that is heated (known as conditioned space), we charge by the number of heated stories. For example, 1-story buildings start at $300, 2-story buildings start at $400, 3-story buildings start at $500, etc – but it really depends on the size of the property, as larger buildings take more time. If you’d like a quote, please call us at (510) 525-7173.

Owners are required to fill out the BESO application form, and pay a $79 filing fee to the City of Berkeley to complete the process. Please not that both the application and filing fee are completed by the owner, not a third party such as JMC Inspections. Owners that defer the BESO requirement to buyers, must pay a $110 filing fee. It is important to note that BESO assessments are only valid for 5 years, and once expired, will have to be redone when selling the house.

The BESO ordinance does exempt some buildings from the program. For example, buildings under 850 square feet are exempt, as are units within a larger building, such as a condo. High performance buildings are also exempt as long as they have a green certification or have enrolled in a verified energy efficiency program (such as BayREN Home+).

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