In today’s competitive housing market, more information means more power for buyers. So, while composing her offer for a 1912 story-and-a-half Craftsman bungalow, Grace P. was pleased to come across her soon-to-be home’s energy metrics in a pre-sale “TISH” inspection report.
Home sellers in the City of Minneapolis are required to complete a Truth in Sale of Housing (TISH) inspection within three days of putting their home on the market, to assess and assure that quality housing is available in the city. Although initially focused on structural elements like the roof, venting, and foundation, since 2020 the inspection has also documented homes’ energy efficiency.
“One of the first things I noticed was that my home’s energy score wasn’t very good!” Grace says. The first floor was mostly uninsulated. The walls upstairs were made of a cardboard-like material called pressboard, with newspaper for insulation. After she moved in last October, Grace quickly began noticing how hard it was to keep the house warm.
The energy metrics Grace saw were part of her future home’s Energy Disclosure Report. Created through a collaboration between the City of Minneapolis and local nonprofit Center for Energy and Environment (CEE), the TISH energy disclosure program aims to inform prospective homebuyers about how efficiently a home uses energy. Each Energy Disclosure Report shows a home’s overall energy efficiency as an energy score and gives tailored recommendations for cost-effective improvements.
Grace had always been attentive to energy use, so she used the information to take action. After looking into considerations for working with older homes, she called Kat, a CEE Energy Advisor who was listed on the report. “The report was helpful, but what really made things achievable was being able to talk about my specific home with someone knowledgeable of old houses,” Grace shared.
“The report was helpful, but what really made things achievable was being able to talk about my specific home with someone knowledgeable of old houses.”
Kat helped Grace get in touch with rebate-eligible contractors and arranged a couple quotes. Grace eventually chose Lewis Insulation. “Lewis was great to work with. They were really helpful, answered all my questions, and knew how to work with older homes,” she says. Contractors added blow-in insulation to Grace’s main floor walls, spray foam insulation on the upper floor, and sheetrock to replace the pressboard. “I wanted to do the most I could. The 0% financing from CEE was a huge factor in making that possible,” she says.
When asked what her advice would be to homeowners, Grace enthusiastically shared that everyone should call CEE. “Being able to talk with people made the whole process clear from start to finish.”
Energy Advisors are a cost-free service from the Minnesota nonprofit Center for Energy and Environment in partnership with CenterPoint Energy and the City of Minneapolis.