In what could amount to a compliment to the existing Energy Star program, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is currently developing a voluntary National Energy Rating Program for Homes. This program is only in the most early of stages at this point, with the DOE seeking input from interested parties through July 10.

The DOE’s National Energy Rating Program for Homes, according to the federal agency, would “encourage consumers to invest in energy improvements in existing homes by providing reliable information to them at low cost.” A PDF file put up by the DOE for review provides quite a bit of detailed information on what this program could entail. It is stated that the goal of this program ultimately is to “facilitate a new level of investment in home energy efficiency by overcoming a range of informational and market barriers frequently identified as hindering these investments.”

U.S Department of Energy
image via U.S. Department of Energy

The DOE believes that the benefits of education from programs like this, via encouraging greater investments in energy retrofits, will see positive actions such as job growth, saving money on energy bills, helping to cut down emissions of greenhouse gases and improving energy security. This program is designed to supplement existing residential retrofit programs underway at all levels of government and in the private sector. It would aim to provide “standardized approaches for evaluating home energy performance and options for conveying this information to the consumer.”

It looks to perhaps also establish a National Home Energy Registry, which would serve as “a repository for energy information on a large number of homes and therefore allow the Department and others to establish more reliable benchmarks and perform other types of analysis.” The DOE acknowledges privacy issues would arise from such a voluntary registry and it would plan accordingly to address such issues in the registry’s development.

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