The White House announced this week a new initiative to boost home energy efficiency. This is the culmination of the Recovery Through Retrofit plan, funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Key components include the Home Energy Score Program, under which U.S. homeowners will be able to get low-cost energy surveys that rank a home's efficiency on a scale of one to 10 and get federally insured loans for upgrades under a companion program called PowerSave. All of this is coupled with new workforce guidelines and training offerings to ensure that home improvements are done well.
You can learn more about this initiative in the Middle Class Task Force blog from Vice-President Biden's office: Strengthening an Emerging Industry While Helping Families Save Money.
Central to the initiative is the new Home Energy Scoring Tool.
Cathy Zoi, Acting Under Secretary of Energy, explains the tool, which helps
homeowners understand how home energy systems perform. Using the tool,
consumers will find out how their home compares with others and how much
money they could save by adding insulation, sealing air leaks or making
In 2010, the U.S. Department of Energy (Department) tasked the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) to develop this new tool within the Home Energy Saver suite. The resulting tool provides the first national asset rating method that allows all USA regions to opt into a simplified and standardized energy assessment process that complements existing advanced home energy audit methods.
The Scoring Tool is designed to provide a rapid low-cost opportunity assessment of a home's fixed energy systems (also known as an "asset rating") and provide the home owner with general feedback on the systems that potentially need more detailed attention from certified home performance diagnostics and weatherization professionals (such as those engaged with RESNET, Building Performance Institute, and the Affordable Comfort Institute).The Scoring Tool has been designed to support the existing marketplace for energy analysis tools and services by providing a substantially lower-cost "entry level" assessment (but not a formal work scope or cost estimate), which can help the service provider establish the potential for energy savings and the value of a more comprehensive investigation and retrofit recommendation report. For a typical home, an experienced assessor can complete a Scoring Tool analysis in under an hour, while a comprehensive follow-up assessment could take several times that long.
Evan Mills & Norm Bourassa
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab