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U.S. DOE Launches 'Home Energy Score' Pilot Program

Latest News > Green Building News

December 1 — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has launched a pilot Home Energy Score program that will enable homeowners to have their home's energy performance rated in simila fashion to the way cars are rated by the EPA for fuel economy.

Home Energy Scores will run from one to ten, with ten representing excellent energy performance. The reports will show homeowners how their home compares to others in their region. Reports will include, "customized, cost-effective recommendations that will reduce homeowner energy costs and improve the comfort of their homes," says a DOE news release. Reports will also include the estimated utility bill savings, payback period and greenhouse gas emission reductions for each home improvement recommendation.

Scoring will be done by trained and certified contractors, using a simple assessment document, the Home Energy Audit Tool, that requires about 40 inputs, according to DOE. The document will allow a contractor to evaluate a home's energy assets—such as its heating and cooling systems and insulation levels—in generally less than an hour.

See information on how contractors can become qualified to use the Home Energy Audit Tool.

The Home Energy Score initially will be tested with local governments, utilities and nonprofit organizations in ten pilot communities in both urban and rural areas across the U.S. Contractors in those areas may participate in the program.

In a related program, DOE is developing guidelines for contractors and others conducting energy audits and residential energy retrofits. The voluntary guidelines are intend to foster the growth of a high quality residential retrofit industry and a skilled and credentialed workforce, says DOE. A draft document is available for public comment until January 7, 2011. Get more information on the program and download the draft guidelines here.

Learn more about the Home Energy Score program or view a short video about the program here.