Curious about how energy efficient your home is and how energy efficient it might be if optimized? You can always try to figure it out yourself, and in some regions around the country services already exist where a trained contractor can help you figure it out. Other areas, however, have been somewhat out in the cold in this regard, until today that is.
Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu today took the curtain off a new Home Energy Score program – a result of the Recovery through Retrofit initiative – the two say will offer homeowners straightforward, reliable information about their homes’ energy efficiency. Also announced were a set of guidelines for workers in the residential energy efficiency industry to “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 voluntary Home Energy Score program will offer homeowners an in-home evaluation of a home’s energy efficiency via trained and certified contractors. These contractors will make use of a standardized assessment tool developed by the DOE and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that has 40 items to check around a home’s energy assets, such as its heating and cooling systems, insulation levels and more. It is said such an evaluation will take less than an hour in most cases, generating a score card like the one pictured above, along with “a list of recommendations for home energy upgrades and other useful tips. For each specific improvement, the estimated utility bill savings, payback period, and greenhouse gas emission reductions are included.”
The DOE said the Home Energy Score program initially will be tested with local government, utility, and non-profit partners in ten pilot communities across the country, located in both urban and rural areas that cover a wide range of climates. After the pilots are completed and evaluated next spring, it is planned for a nationwide roll out of the program late next year.
As for the guidelines for those who do such energy efficiency evaluation and upgrades, they include “standard work specifications required for high-quality work, a reference guide for technical standards and codes, analyses of the job tasks involved in completing various energy efficiency improvements, and the minimum qualifications workers should possess to perform high quality work.”
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