Energy eScore is a certified Home Energy Score software partner with city-wide analysis services and customer-facing solutions specifically designed for city planners, utilities, and homeowners.
The Home Energy Score is like a “miles per gallon” rating for homes. It uses a 1 through 10 scale, where a 10 represents the most energy efficient home and a 1 represents a home with high energy waste. A low scoring home is likely a great candidate for cost-effective energy improvements. Scoring a “1” does not mean your home is poorly built. A beautiful home with up-to-date equipment can still get a low score if the square footage is high or if there is insufficient insulation. A low score just means there is significant room for improvement to reduce a home’s energy use. Scoring a “10” does not mean your home cannot improve. Even a home that uses less energy than most of its peers may benefit from additional energy efficiency or renewable energy investments. A Home Energy Score is a low-cost, reliable method for residents to understand their home energy efficiency.
Home Energy Score is an "asset" score based on the home’s envelope (walls, windows, roof, foundation) and heating, cooling, and hot water systems. Total energy use is estimated by assuming "average" occupant behavior based on the square footage and number of bedrooms, the behavior of the real homeowner is not included in the calculation. Therefore, Home Energy Score results are not representative of actual utility bills in some cases.
The Home Energy Score program was developed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and launched nationally in 2012. Since then, Home Energy Score Assessors have scored over 100,000 homes nationwide. This program has been adopted by several states (AL, AR, CO, CT, MO, NH, OR, VT), several cities (Austin, Berkeley, Santa Fe, Boulder, Portland), and several utility demand side management programs (New Jersey Natural Gas, United Illuminating and Eversource, Columbia Water and Light, Wisconsin Focus on Energy).
U.S. Department of Energy created a simulator uniquely refined to require minimal data input – to save on time, money, and training for Assessors – while producing maximum accuracy for energy use predictions. Energy eScore is an official software partner with U.S. Department of Energy, and created the only Home Energy Score software with city-wide analysis capabilities and an online calculator for the public.
These tools are widely used and influential to the market, leading to an improved U.S. housing stock with better energy performance, lower costs, and greater comfort. This program helps to build market value for energy efficient single-family homes and townhomes that improve quality of life. The Home Energy Score Program and Energy eScore accomplishes this by:
- Providing residents knowledge of home energy efficiency and cost-effective improvements
- Encouraging use of reliable and consistent home data and build a market value for comfortable, energy efficient homes.
This graphic may help you understand how U.S. Census home energy data has helped inform the Home Energy Score scale. The bar graph shows home energy use data for the nation based on U.S. Census surveys, and the Home Energy Score’s scale below is stretched to show how homes score based on their energy use. If your home scores a 5, it is expected to perform comparably to an average home in the U.S. in terms of energy use. If your home scores a 10, it ranks among the ten percent of U.S. homes expected to use the least amount of energy after accounting for climate. A home scoring a 1 is estimated to consume more energy each year than 85 percent of U.S. homes, again after accounting for local climate. More information can be found at the U.S. Department of Energy home energy score methodology website.
State and Local Governments
Several state and local governments have adopted Home Energy Score as a home energy labeling policy. Home Energy Score is a natural fit to simplify data collection and provide reliable information comparing energy efficiency across homes. State and local governments use Home Energy Score policy as a low-cost way to improve consumer awareness and spur investment in energy efficiency to achieve goals. Currently, state and local governments using Home Energy Score include:
- City and County of Denver, Colorado - Department of Public Health & Environment
- City of Fort Collins, Colorado - Fort Collins Utilities
- City of Portland, Oregon - Bureau of Planning & Sustainability
- San Francisco Bay Area - Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayREN), City of Berkeley
- State of Alabama - Alabama Department of Economic & Community Affairs
- State of Alaska - Alaska Housing Finance Corporation
- State of Arkansas - Arkansas Economic Development Commission
- State of Connecticut - Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund (CEEF)
- State of Missouri - Missouri Department of Economic Development
- State of New Hampshire - New Hampshire Office of Energy & Planning
- State of New York - New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)
- State of Oregon - Oregon Department of Energy, Eugene Water & Electric Board
Real Estate Websites
Real estate professionals and websites can communicate energy information to both buyers and sellers to enable investment in energy efficient homes. Energy efficient homes can be more comfortable and affordable to maintain, because utility cost are on average higher than either property taxes or home insurance. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently found that 71% of respondents said promoting efficiency in listings is very or somewhat valuable, and over half reported their clients are interested in sustainability. According to the Demand Institute, energy efficiency is the most significant unmet demand in the housing market. A study by Elevate Energy (2015) found that homes with disclosed energy costs closed at a higher percentage of the asking price and spent less time on the market than those that did not disclose energy costs. Some examples of real estate websites that display Home Energy Score information include:
- Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
In addition, providing Home Energy Score information can make a home more appealing and available to a wider pool of potential buyers through access to energy efficiency-related financing products. Under Fannie Mae’s HomeStyle Energy mortgage loan, borrowers can finance up to 15% of a home’s “as completed” appraised value for energy efficiency improvements by receiving a Home Energy Score. Borrowers in this program can also qualify for a stretch on their debt-to-income ratios for homes that score a 6 or higher, or for making improvements to a less efficient home. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has a similar policy that allows larger debt-to-income ratios for high scoring homes. These policies reflect the fact that more efficient homes have lower operating costs.
Energy efficiency services are often already established through utility demand side management (DSM) programs. Several utilities have adopted Home Energy Score and offer assessments through the existing energy efficiency programs. Utilities can leverage existing program delivery methods to provide customers information about home performance and energy savings. There are a variety of ways that utilities have offered Home Energy Score, such as:
- Bundled item within a standard energy audit or home inspection package
- Standalone product offered to homeowners for a fee
- Free product to gain leads for home improvement
- Service required for homeowners to qualify for certain rebates and cash-back programs
- Evaluative tool conducted before and after efficiency upgrades to show homeowners the impacts of their investments
Non-Profits and Trade Organizations
Non-profits and trade organizations have started offering the Home Energy Score to meet increasing customer interested in home energy performance. Residential building professionals can better serve customers by providing nationally tested and government-sponsored Home Energy Score. Examples of building professionals that use Home Energy Score include:
- HVAC contractors
- Energy auditors
- Home inspectors