TOLEDO, Ohio - With a harsh winter predicted and energy prices on the rise, it is more important than ever for homeowners to take control of their energy costs, says Owens Corning. To help, the manufacturer of fiberglass insulation has developed the Home Report Cardâ„¢ quiz (, click on the Home Report Card quiz icon), an online interactive tool that allows homeowners to evaluate the energy efficiency level of their homes.

According to David Garman, Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), most homeowners don't understand how inefficient their homes really are. "We actually find that most homes are not energy efficient at all," Garman said, "There's a lot homeowners can do to save energy and money this winter."

Heating bills will depend on the geographic locations of homes and regional weather patterns, but if gas prices this winter are as high as some predict, the average residential winter heating bill for a typical Midwest consumer could be up to $915 - a 19 percent increase over last year's bill, according to the DOE.

To help homeowners manage increased heating bills, the Home Report Card online interactive tool is designed to help homeowners identify where they may be losing energy and money. The quiz covers such subjects as insulation levels, types of lighting and appliances, windows, and fireplaces. Based on the homeowner's answers, a customized "grade" is computed, and recommendations are given on how to improve the energy efficiency level of the home.

Making a few energy efficiency improvements to the home can save up to 30 percent on heating bills. And reducing the amount of energy used to heat homes will be an even bigger issue this winter, as the Energy Information Administration predicts average natural gas bills across the country will rise five percent this winter as compared to last year. This will affect approximately 44 percent of homeowners nationwide, as natural gas is the predominant heating source.

"As energy experts, we believe in taking a whole-house approach to energy efficiency," said John Pagano, Owens Corning's vice president and general manager of residential insulation. "The Home Report Card tool provides a fun, interactive way for consumers to help save energy and money on their bills this winter and beyond."

The Web site is an educational resource developed by the DOE and Owens Corning. Those who visit the Owens Corning site directly will find the Home Report Card interactive tool at

Publication date: 11/10/2003