U.S. homes consume more than 20 percent of the country’s energy and account for more than 50 percent of energy used in the buildings sector.
With such a large portion of the nation’s energy resources — especially electricity and natural gas — devoted to the residential sector, one has to ask: how efficiently are those energy resources being put to use?
This question was recently tackled in two separate reports by the U.S. Department of Energy and Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), which were presented at ACEEE’s biannual conference last month in Pacific Grove, California.
The two reports specifically examined a metric known as the “Home Energy Score,” which was developed to provide both homeowners and prospective homebuyers with a credible, standardized, and affordable way to understand a home’s energy performance.
Across the country, Home Energy Scores — which have been likened to miles-per-gallon ratings for vehicles — have emerged as an important reference point in the housing market, especially during the time of sale. At that moment, both sellers and buyers are inclined to make financial and property-related investments — and among those, energy efficiency upgrades have become increasingly salient.
In fact, Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies has found that sellers and buyers spend 2.5 times more money on renovations within two years of sale than at any other time in a home’s life cycle. Since efficiency upgrades often play an important role in those renovations, home energy scores can have a huge bearing on the overall efficiency of a home — and a nation.
The U.S. DOE’s Home Energy Score rates homes’ efficiency performance and potential on a scale from 1-to-10 (Source: U.S. Department of Energy).