Home efficiency startup Pearl Certification has raised $9.5 million in Series A funding, according to an announcement Thursday. Clean Energy Ventures led the funding round with contributions from Keller Enterprises, the Felton Group, and the Clean Energy Ventures Group.
“Since our founding in 2015, Pearl Certification has worked with the contracting, real estate and building industries to help homeowners improve the performance and efficiency of their homes, and to capture the full value of their homes when they sell or refinance,” Pearl Certification Co-Founder and CEO Cynthia Adams said in a statement. “We are very fortunate to have like-minded investors like Clean Energy Ventures as part of our team.”
Pearl Certification operates in 30 states and provides home efficiency certification services for real estate agents, homeowners, contractors and builders.
Homesellers and real estate agents can have their listing certified by completing a brief questionnaire about the home’s energy systems. Based on those answers, Pearl will determine whether the listing is eligible for an in-person valuation for $425 or a virtual evaluation for $169.
However, agents can receive a 30 percent discount by becoming a Pearl Partner Agent for $49 per year. National Association of Realtors Green Designees and homesellers who work with a Pearl Partner Agent can receive a similar discount on Pearl’s services, a spokesperson explained.
A Pearl-trained local service provider will score the listing based on five categories, including the building shell (300 points), heating and cooling system (300 points), baseline energy load (300 points), and home management systems (300 points). Homes with renewable energy and energy storage, such as solar panels, will receive bonus points.
Pearl said its providers consider which systems may be more important to buyers based on climate and weather patterns. “In Phoenix, Arizona, a high-efficiency air conditioner is worth more points than a high-efficiency furnace,” an explainer states. “In St. Paul, Minnesota, it’s the opposite.”
After the visit, Pearl will send agents their listing’s score, which ranges from Pearl Asset for homes with several energy-efficient appliances or features to Pearl Platinum for homes with top-of-the-line materials and systems.
The report also includes an appraisal addendum to make sure high-efficiency appliances and energy-saving features are properly credited to the home’s value. Homeowners and homesellers can also use Pearl’s Green Door app to view certification reports and hire Pearl-certified contractors to make upgrades and repairs if needed.
On average, Pearl said certified listings result in offers five percent above the listing price.
“Studies have shown homeowners are spending 10 to 15 percent more on their energy bills than they were before the pandemic,” Adams told Inman in an emailed statement. “Adults and their kids are spending more time in their homes than ever before, and they want to feel comfortable when doing so.”
“Indoor air quality, which has multiple tie-ins to energy efficiency, has also become much more prevalent in HVAC contractor conversations with their customers,” she added. “All in all, people are more sensitized to whether or not a home is energy efficient and are willing to spend the money to make it so.”
Adams said Pearl Certification has serviced more than 72,000 homeowners and 3,000 real estate agents, with Arizona, Michigan, California and Virginia being its most robust markets. The $9.5 million will be used to grow Pearl’s team and roll out additional services, especially for agents.
“Pearl is the ultimate differentiation tool for agents to win a listing based on their ability to sell it for maximum value,” she said. “Pearl Certification is a listing agents’ must have. It is a marketing tool that provides investment-grade documentation for the buyer, lender, and appraiser.”
“As Pearl scales, so will the demand for agents who know how to sell a certified high-performing home,” she added.