Feds unveil home energy score
By Christina Williams, Sustainable Business Oregon
Sustainable Business Oregon
The U.S. Department of Energy on Tuesday took the wraps off a plan to set a national standard for home energy efficiency and discussed new financing options for homeowners looking to up their efficiency game.
The DOE will work with a number of national organizations through the middle of 2011 to test its Home Energy Score program. Portland is one of 10 testing locations. Energy Trust of Oregon will choose 200 program participants, with scoring due to be complete in 2011.
The DOE intends to use the Home Energy Score as a quick way for people to understand how their home's energy performance compares to others. The score will be based on 45 data points collected by an auditor trained in energy assessments. Details about the methodology are available on the DOE website.
In reporting the news, USA Today described the new home energy gauge as a "miles-per-gallon sticker" for homes, a term used by Portland-based Earth Advantage Institute for its Energy Performance Score.
Earth Advantage Institute has been working behind the scenes to help the DOE establish a national Home Energy Score, providing detailed information about the nonprofit green building organization's own methodology for energy scoring. EAI has received federal funding for a 5,000 pilot project in Seattle to test technical tools related to home energy scoring.
"It's a statistical comparison," said Sean Penrith, executive director at Earth Advantage, describing the DOE's Home Energy Score. "The Energy Performance Score is a technical measure."
Penrith said that the DOE settled on the simpler score to test as a national standard because it allowed for more affordable audits. He expects the two metrics to operate in a complementary fashion.
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