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RESNET® and Pearl Certification® Join Forces to Measure Market Demand for HERS-Pearl Certified Homes in Phoenix

May 14, 2019

To demonstrate the impact of energy labels on home prices, RESNET has joined Pearl Certification, the City of Phoenix, the utility Arizona Public Service (APS), and Phoenix’s largest broker, HomeSmart, in a ground-breaking study to quantify the price premium that existing homes with a joint HERS® Index and Pearl Certification can command in the Phoenix existing housing market.

The pilot is a major new initiative to help Phoenix homeowners increase their homes’ energy efficiency, reduce their utility bills, conserve resources – and capture the value of investments in high-performing homes when they sell.

During the pilot, RESNET and Pearl Certification will launch and test a partnership that will enable both organizations to:

• Enhance the visibility of the HERS and the Pearl brands in the residential real estate market;
• Reduce potential market confusion through the creation of a joint Pearl-HERS Certification;
• Develop and implement strategies to generate added market value for Pearl-HERS certified homes.

In preparation for the Phoenix pilot, Pearl Certification conducted a study on the correlation between HERS Index Scores and Pearl’s certification system using a data set of over 27,000 Phoenix-area home records. The study found a strong relationship between the HERS Index and the Pearl Score. When the full data set used to generate a HERS Index was also used to generate the Pearl Score, homes with a Pearl Silver Certification had HERS Index scores ranging from 83 to 72, and homes with a Pearl Gold Certification had HERS Index scores ranging from 74 to 66.

Pearl has three efficiency certification levels:

• Pearl Silver – A Pearl Silver home typically has an IECC 2015-level building shell or ENERGY STAR heating and cooling systems
• Pearl Gold – A Pearl Gold home typically has IECC 2015-level building shell AND ENERGY STAR heating and cooling systems
• Pearl Platinum – A Pearl Platinum home typically has IECC 2015-level building shell and ENERGY STAR HVAC, plus efficient appliances, water heating, lighting, and smart devices and controls

During the pilot, Pearl will generate a Pearl Certification for each of the 43,000 homes in the Phoenix area housing market that have had HERS Index Scores uploaded to the RESNET National Registry. The owners of these homes will be contacted and informed of the joint designation of their homes. Those who plan to put their home on the market will have the option to connect with a trained real estate agent who has expertise in marketing energy efficient and Pearl Certified homes.

A critical outcome of the Phoenix pilot project will be an evaluation of a price premium of the joint RESNET-Pearl labeled homes. The evaluation will be part of an appraisal study that will certify up to 100 pre-market or active home listings in the Phoenix area. Homeowners located in the City of Phoenix who are customers of APS can receive Pearl’s full real estate marketing package and certification at no cost. Documentation will be provided by Pearl Certification for use in the sale of the home. Sale data will then be evaluated by third-party appraisal experts to determine how the certification and certified features impacted the sale price.

A side benefit of this study will be to determine whether RESNET HERS Index Score can be complemented and enhanced by a Pearl Certification Report, and presented clearly to homeowners and the real estate market.

In addition, the Pearl efficiency certification levels will be added to the 43,000 HERS rated homes that are currently listed in the RESNET-Appraisal Institute HERS Index Appraiser Portal. This will allow residential real estate appraisers in the Phoenix housing market to undertake market comparable analysis on HERS/Pearl labeled homes