I would like to know if a Realtor can call a home energy efficient when the home was built in 1960 with new windows and extra insulation without the home being certified by a third party?
You’ve entered a very gray area. You need to determine if you and your real estate agent are using the same definition of energy efficiency.
There are many questions to be asked to determine if the home meets your definition of energy efficient. What is the Realtor basing their claims on? There are many levels of energy efficiency to be considered, and with new windows and extra insulation the home is much more energy efficient than when it was originally built, but does it reach today’s standards of energy efficiency?
- How much insulation and what kind of windows were used?
- What other renovations were done to raise the energy efficiency of the home?
- How does this compare to materials and assemblies that would be used in new construction, that have to meet new energy requirements in that area?
- What is the energy consumption of the home before and after the renovations?
Many homes have been fully renovated and they can be extremely energy efficient by using higher efficiency appliances, choosing the best insulation, installing fluorescent lights, etc. The Realtor’s claim of energy efficiency has to be verified by answering all those questions so you will be satisfied that the claim meets your standards.
Consult with a green architect or an energy conservation professional, and review what was done to make the determination.
Check with the U.S Department of Energy for guidelines and references.