DOE Plugs Energy Rating for Homes, Similar to MPG Rating for Cars

(CNSNews.com) – The Energy Department on Tuesday is rolling out new, improved software to help Americans measure the energy efficiency of their homes.

DOE says its energy-scoring software — called the Home Energy Scoring Tool — is like a vehicle’s mile-per-gallon rating because it allows homeowners to compare the energy performance of their homes to other homes nationwide. It also provides homeowners with suggestions for improving their homes’ efficiency.

The software is part of the government’s effort to reduce the nation’s energy consumption; but it’s also billed as a way to keep home-retrofitting going, at a time when stimulus funds for weather-proofing have run out.

The Home Energy Scoring Tool “can be a powerful motivator in getting homeowners to make energy efficiency improvements,” DOE says. “It’s also a great way to help trained workers enter the private sector energy improvement market as funding for weatherization efforts decline.”

To produce a Home Energy Score, a trained, “qualified assessor” comes to your home — for a fee — and collects approximately 40 pieces of data about the home’s “envelope” (e.g., walls, windows, heating and cooling systems) during an hour-long walk-through.

Based on the home’s characteristics, the DOE software estimates the home’s annual energy use, assuming “typical homeowner behavior.” The software then converts the estimated energy use into a score, based on a 10-point scale (10 being the most energy-efficient). The 1-10 scale accounts for differences in weather conditions by using the zip code to assign the house to one of more than 1,000 weather stations.

In addition to showing the home’s current energy efficiency — or inefficiency — the score also shows where a home would rank if all of the energy-saving improvements identified during the home walk-through were made. That may prompt some homeowners to buy new windows or doors, for example, boosting the market for home retro-fitters.

Full article: DOE Plugs Energy Rating for Homes, Similar to MPG Rating for Cars (CNS News)

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