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.
Forward Energy Solutions, Inc.
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