Taking the Home Energy Scoring Tool a Step Further

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) puts a great deal of focus and concern into the area of weatherization. An abundant amount of recovery act funding went towards weatherization and in return the reduction of energy consumption. In an attempt to make the auditing and assessing aspect of weatherization readily available and understood by both experts and consumers alike the DOE has created the Home Energy Scoring Tool.


This tool is available online for free and unlike similar tools, such the Energy Star Yardstick, the Home Energy Scoring Tool does not take the consumers actual bills or consumption into account; instead it takes the information about the client's home, gathered by the assessor during an audit, and provides a rank. The walk-through needed to gather information for the free online tool collects data from 45 different points. Once completed the tool will calculate the score and compare the home to others in the area. The tool is designed to measure the home itself, not how the home is used. To substitute for the home’s actual use it makes the assumption that it is occupied by 2 adults and 1 child and that the thermostat is set at a certain level depending on the time of year.


Upgrades and improvements are then generated by the online tool and listed so they can clearly be seen and considered. The potential savings are also generated to show the consumer how much the performance improvement could affect their costs. The tool calculates a score of 1 to 10 which shows how the home is currently performing; the higher the score the better the performance. After this initial ranking it compares how it currently is performing to how it could perform if all of the potential upgrades were made.


After the audit is complete the Home Energy Scoring Tool helps consumers judge which improvement will result in the most savings. The upgrades pointed out by the audit will result in significant savings by improving energy efficiency and the home's performance. But, keep in mind that these readings do not take into consideration the home's actual use. The home may be completely efficient, but the bills may still be high. If after the improvements the home is still scoring high on the Home Energy Scoring Tool but the bills are still higher than they should be it may be time to look at how the energy is being used.


A home energy monitor provides a glimpse into real-time daily energy use habits. Using this tool can help narrow in on wasteful energy usage habits. The average home has over 30 devices that are always using electricity, whether it is a charger that is still plugged in or a device in standby mode, a monitor can help by showing users exactly how much electricity they are consuming. Some devices in standby mode use as much electricity as in the on mode. Encouraging a consumer to begin monitoring their energy use may help reduce the waste involved in their habits. Combining good habits with an efficient home will create the most significant savings.



Silas Inman
Forward Energy Solutions, Inc.
Sustaining Tomorrow with Energy Solutions Today
http://www.forwardenergysolutions.com/

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Tags: DOE, efficiency, energy, home, monitor, scoring, tool, weatherization

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Comment by Silas Inman on November 12, 2010 at 7:56am
Yes, I agree. The Home assessment is extremely important. I don't think the Home Energy Scoring Tool is meant as a preliminary. An inspection needs to be carried out by a licensed assessor who then enters the 45 points into the online tool. It helps the consumer see a list and how they rank and how they could rank. The HES pro tool could be considered more of a preliminary.
Comment by Mark Richardson on November 11, 2010 at 4:07pm
I love the idea of a "preliminary" visual audit that uses a software scoring model that compares apple to apples. I am absolutely psyched about the Home Energy Scoring Tool!

I also love the fact that you can integrate that information into HES pro, to take the audit in a more specific, geographic and climate appropriate direction.

Silas, I agree that energy monitors are a fantastic tool for reducing behavioral and lifestyle energy consumption, but there's nothing like a good 'ol scientific Home Assessment to find out where your building’s inherent energy loss is hiding.
Comment by Silas Inman on November 11, 2010 at 2:13pm
That is a good move. I think the home energy scoring tool and the home energy saver pro tools compliment each other nicely. This would help you get a good indication of where your energy is going, although (unless I am missing it) the home energy saver pro tool doesn't include vampire or always on energy information. I think a home energy monitor necessary to make sure you are stopping waste from happening.
Comment by Evan Mills on November 11, 2010 at 2:02pm
One thing we're doing with the Home Energy Scoring Tool is allowing it to inter-operate with the Home Energy Saver Pro website so that these "asset-based" assessments can be converted to a more flexible home description environment in which things like behavior and energy-using devices and plug loads that are held constant in the asset-based model.

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