WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) inviting interested parties to submit comments that will help to develop a National Energy Rating Program for Homes. This rating program is being developed to offer consumers easy-to-understand, reliable information about the energy performance of existing homes, and help them identify cost-effective energy efficiency investments for their homes.

DOE said that, even though home energy retrofits are good investments that save families money, consumers often do not have the straightforward information on a home’s energy use that they need to decide whether to retrofit their homes and what investments make the most sense. This national program will help facilitate investment in home energy efficiency by developing a consistent way of measuring a home’s energy performance and a clear method for conveying information to consumers. The program is meant to complement existing home retrofit efforts, such as Home Performance with Energy Star, weatherization, and other state and local energy efficiency initiatives.

The National Energy Rating Program for Homes will consist of standardized approaches for evaluating home energy performance and methods for conveying this information to consumers. DOE is considering a wide range of issues including how to measure energy performance, what performance metrics to use, and how best to present information to consumers. Interested stakeholders such as state and local energy offices, realtors, consumer groups, utilities, Home Performance with Energy Star contractors and administrators, weatherization contractors, home energy rating organizations, lenders, environmental groups and non-profit organizations involved with energy efficiency initiatives, are encouraged to participate.

The RFI seeks public input on the following aspects of the program:

• Guiding principles for the program.

• Options and approaches for key elements of the program.

• Proposed DOE approaches.

• Additional work that the Department is considering.

The deadline for comments is July 10, 2010. DOE plans to have an initial program design available by early fall 2010. The Department expects to partner with interested parties and ongoing residential energy efficiency retrofit programs to implement this effort.

For more information and to submit your comments, go to www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/home_rating_rfi.html.

Publication date:06/21/2010