This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

November 10, 2010

Vice President Biden Launches DOE Home Energy Scoring Program

Vice President Biden launched on November 9 DOE's Home Energy Score pilot program, designed to offer homeowners reliable information about their homes' energy efficiency. Under the voluntary program, a report provides consumers with a home energy score between 1 and 10, and shows them how their homes compare to others in their region. The report includes customized, cost-effective recommendations that will help to reduce homeowners' energy costs and improve the comfort of their homes.

The Home Energy Score program will empower trained and certified contractors to use a standardized assessment tool developed by DOE and DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. With the tool, contractors can quickly evaluate a home and generate useful, actionable information for homeowners and prospective homebuyers. With only about 40 required inputs, the tool lets a contractor analyze a home's energy assets, such as its heating and cooling systems, 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 energy 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 ten pilot communities and states across the United States in diverse climates including: Charlottesville, Virginia; Allegheny County, Pennsylvania; Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts; Minnesota; Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Indiana; Portland, Oregon; South Carolina; Texas; and Eagle County, Colorado. 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 programs. See the DOE press release, the Home Energy Score Web site, and an example of a score and recommendationsPDF.

At the same time, DOE released Workforce Guidelines for Home Energy Upgrades for workers in the residential energy efficiency industry. The guidelines will help develop and expand the skills of the workforce, ensuring the quality of the work performed, while laying the foundation for a more robust worker certification and training program nationwide. The announcements highlighted the progress that has been made on implementing the recommendations of last year's Recovery through Retrofit report. See the residential retrofit guidelines Web site including a link for public comment. Also see Recovery for RetrofitPDF.