Is anybody out there using the DOE Home Energy Score?  If so, are you using it as a supplement to current WAP/home performance work or are you using it for some other reason?

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I'm a Home Energy Scorer in the Berkeley, CA area. In Berkeley, Home Energy Scores are required when a home is sold. The sellers and realtors I work with generally see the score as a "check the box" item they have to do when selling, and don't really seem to get engaged with it. Buyers are more interested, especially because I try to spend more time with them going over the results and showing them how energy efficiency improvements can be beneficial to them. Unfortunately, outside of Berkeley the score has not really been sought after by homeowners. If they're not forced to do it, they don't really seem all that interested. Part of that could be addressed by better marketing I suppose, but the mild climate here and an overall energy efficiency mindset that already exists in this area doesn't seem to lend itself to creating demand for the score.

Let's unpack this premise that home energy score is somehow a proxy for value that people will pay something for on a monthly basis.

How, why, would you?

How does it translate to value? Someone please show me the math?

A lower interest rate means a lower payment. I can calculate and correlate that to reality. Why would I pay more for an energy score?

Turn it around. Would you pay more? How much? For what score? What is the average? Does it even correlate to monthly energy cost, because a monthly cost lower than average I CAN value against the average.

A thing the marketplace can't quickly convert to value is unlikely to have much value. Seems obvious.

Plenty of people pay for advice that can't correlate directly to a dollar amount. I don't think that's the point.  No one doubts that adding insulation to your home will save you money, but I have yet to see any good data on specifically how much that would be.  Too many factors. In fact, it's likely that except in extreme cases most major efficiency improvements have a payback period far greater than what is generally assumed/advertised. Knowing that, why would anyone do it at all, unless there was more to it than a dollar amount?

The people I come across who seek out a Home Energy Score (where it's not required) don't do it for the score itself, but are looking for guidance. Their motivation could be saving money, increasing home value, increasing comfort, saving the world from climate change, etc. Or maybe they're just curious. The "value" to the customer takes on many shapes.

The HES is simply a tool that gets the conversation started, at least in my experience.  It's the first step of a larger process I go through with my clients. That said, if it's used solely as a standalone offering, then yes there's little value in it. For those clients who receive a score only because they have to check a box as part of a home sale, almost none seem to care about it.

Ted,

In Vermont we are piloting the use of the Home Energy Score with a twist in effort to increase its usefulness to the real estate professionals. We use the DOE's tool to also populate a wedge shaped chart that displays the expected total MMBtu/year for all fuels combined, the expected cost/per year (in total and by fuel), and the HES (graphic attached below)

In our outreach to appraisers, lenders. and Realtors we are following the 7 steps of the Visible Value Blueprint:

1.Document energy efficiency features and improvements using consistent, standardized 
methods.
2.Disclose inventories of energy efficient homes to track supply.
3.Capitalize on existing [and/or create] high-quality continuing education and designation training.
4.Work with the MLS community to ensure that data about home energy efficiency improvements are incorporated into for-sale listings.
5.Ensure that the data about home energy efficiency improvements are incorporated into the appraisal process.
6.Develop standards and IT solutions that allow quicker, more  accurate, automated transfer of data.
7.Work with partner financial institutions to ensure selection of qualified appraisers.
The Blueprint is in Unlocking the Value of an Energy Efficient Home: 

www.mredllc.com/comms/documents/Unlocking_the_Value_an_Energy_Effic...

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