Greenbanc Completes Its 100th Home Energy Score in California
Analysis of California home energy performance reveals tremendous opportunity for investment in energy efficiency to save money for homeowners and reduce carbon emissions
Oakland, CA, May 1, 2018
Greenbanc, a leading provider of Home Energy Scores, announced today that it has completed its 100th Home Energy Score in California. Since opening an office in California on July 1, 2017, Greenbanc has provided energy assessments for homeowners who want to comply with the Berkeley Energy Saving Ordinance (BESO), which requires an energy assessment at time-of-sale, at an average price of $222, and for other Bay Area homeowners for free.
The data collected from the 100 Home Energy Scores indicates a substantial investment opportunity for building asset improvements that have an attractive payback under 10 years. Of the 100 homes, 27 have no attic insulation and an additional 60 have attic insulation that is lower than the recommended level of R-30. In total, 87% of homes have less attic insulation than the recommended level of R-30. Wall insulation is rare to find with 67 homes with no wall insulation. Floor insulation is also uncommon, and 80 homes of the 100 surveyed have no floor insulation.
For mechanical systems, despite the Bay Area’s mild climate and abundant solar resources, gas is dominant. All 100 homes utilize gas for space heating and 99 are dependent on gas for water heating. Nearly half the equipment is due to be replaced soon. 43% of furnaces exceed a 15-year expected life, and 44% of water heaters exceed a 10-year expected life. Solar power is installed at 9 homes, however, those homes have undersized solar power systems, because the space heating and water heating needs are dependent on gas.
“While I was shocked to not find a single operating heat pump in Berkeley, my most important discovery to date has been psychological,” said North Lennox, founder and CEO of Greenbanc. “While Bay Area citizens may say they believe in climate change, most have not linked the impact of carbon emissions from the buildings they own, cars they drive or other lifestyle decisions they make as relevant to the phenomenon. Even basic concepts, such as the importance of fixing a hole in a wall that lets in cold air or that gas is a fossil fuel that has to be phased out, are unfortunately novel concepts. Berkeley is home to many leading research minds, but the knowledge they generate has not been widely shared. To achieve energy transition, the public needs climate and building science education, and the Home Energy Score offers that instruction.”
Greenbanc has supplemented the standard Home Energy Score report with building performance videos and a more detailed list of recommendations that show the projected savings per improvement. Greenbanc’s “EnergyTube” offers videos on all aspects of home energy performance, and its “Energy Freedom Plans” offer homeowners a roadmap that identifies the most attractive investment opportunities today and the system changes that will reduce carbon emissions.
The aggregate annual carbon dioxide emissions from the 100 homes is 472 tons. Academic research estimates the economic damage caused by a ton of carbon dioxide emissions, often referred to as the “social cost” of carbon, is as high as $220 per ton. Applying $220 per ton to these 100 homes suggests a social cost of $103,840 each year, or $1,038 per home, representing a 51% increase above the average energy costs today.
“Our work is just getting started in providing innovations that will drive change, and I have a high degree of confidence that building energy labels are worthwhile for homeowners, homebuyers and the public interest as a way to educate buildings owners and catalyze energy investments that lower carbon emissions,” said Lennox. “However, it would be great if someone in California would work on integrating Home Energy Scores into the MLS, as they have done in Portland, Oregon and Massachusetts. Getting the scores disclosed in the real estate market with full transparency and comparability is crucial to making them meaningful and effective. I would also welcome the cooperation of non-profits with an environmental mission, who seem to exist in a different world from the contractors who actually improve the energy performance of buildings. There are 81 million single-family homes in America, so there is a massive amount of work to do.”
Greenbanc is a Certified B Corporation and has a commitment to a positive environmental and social impact. The company now operates from 1614 Campbell Street, Oakland, CA 94607.