WASHINGTON - Vice President Joe Biden has launched the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Home Energy Score pilot program, designed to offer homeowners information about their homes’ energy efficiency and tips to improve it. According to the vice president, a report will provide consumers with a home energy score between 1 and 10, and show them how their homes compare to others in their region. The report will also include customized recommendations to help reduce homeowners’ energy costs and improve the comfort of their homes.

Under this voluntary program, trained and certified contractors will use a standardized assessment tool developed by DOE and its Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. With the tool, contractors can quickly evaluate a home and generate actionable information for homeowners and prospective homebuyers. With about 40 required inputs, the tool lets a contractor analyze a home’s energy assets, such as its heating and cooling system, insulation levels, and more, usually in less than an hour. A score of “10” represents a home with excellent energy performance, while a “1” represents a home that will benefit from major upgrades. Along with the score, the homeowner will receive a list of recommended home energy upgrades and specific improvements, as well as the estimated utility bill savings, payback period, and greenhouse gas emission reductions.

The Home Energy Score tool initially will be tested with local government, utility, and non-profit partners in 10 pilot communities and states across the United States in diverse climates including: Charlottesville, Va.; Allegheny County, Pa.; Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.; Minnesota; Omaha and Lincoln, Neb.; Indiana; Portland, Ore.; South Carolina; Texas; and Eagle County, Colo. The pilot tests end in late spring 2011; DOE said that later in 2011 it expects to launch the Home Energy Score nationally, based on the findings from the initial tests.

For more information, visit the Home Energy Score website at www.homeenergyscore.gov.

Publication date:11/15/2010