Sample Home Energy Score Report
What is a Home Energy Score?
The Home Energy Score was developed by the U.S. Department of Energy and is similar to a vehicle’s miles-per-gallon rating. It helps homeowners and homebuyers understand how much energy a home is expected to use and provides suggestions for improving its energy efficiency. It also allows homeowners to compare the energy performance of their homes to other homes nationwide. The Home Energy Score includes: 1) the Score itself, 2) facts about the home including data collected and energy use breakdown, and 3) recommendations to improve the Score and the energy efficiency of the home.
The process starts with a Home Energy Score Assessor collecting energy information during a brief home walk-through. Using the Home Energy Scoring Tool, developed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Assessor scores the home on a scale of 1 to 10. A score of 10 indicates that the home has excellent energy performance. A score of 1 indicates the home needs extensive energy improvements.
The Home Energy Score is a quick, low-cost way for you to learn about your home’s energy performance and see how it compares to others in the area or nationwide. It also provides homeowners with recommendations for energy upgrades as well as an estimate of how these improvements can reduce utility bills and improve the Score.
Why should I get a Home Energy Score?
Your Home Energy Score will show you how your home’s efficiency compares to other homes, and will identify energy improvements that will save you money and raise your Score. As an added bonus, these improvements will likely enhance how comfortable you feel in your home and may improve the air quality in your home. If you’ve already made home energy improvements, your Score can officially recognize your home’s higher performance level—a useful indicator if you’re planning on selling your home soon.
What types of homes can get a Home Energy Score?
At this time, only single family homes and townhomes can be scored. Multifamily and mobile homes cannot be scored.
What does the Assessor look for during a Home Energy Score walk-through?
When your Assessor does the walk-through of your home, she or he will collect about 40 pieces of information. Information about your home’s “envelope” (insulation, windows, etc.) as well as its heating, cooling and hot water systems will be entered into the Home Energy Scoring Tool software. Information about how residents operate the house and non-permanent house features like lighting, home electronics and appliances are not included in the Score calculation since these are not considered to be fixed assets.
How is the Home Energy Score calculated?
To calculate a home’s Score, the Assessor inputs information about a home’s characteristics into an energy modeling software developed by DOE and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The software converts the estimate for how much energy will be used for heating, cooling, and hot water into a point on the 10-point scale. This scale accounts for differences in weather conditions by using the zip code to assign the house to one of more than 1,000 weather stations. The Home Energy Scoring Tool software was designed so that Scores for different homes can be compared to one another regardless of where the homes are located or the number of people currently living in those homes.
Does a home with a poor (lower) Score always use more energy than a home with a better (higher) Score?
A home with a lower Score does not necessarily use more energy than a home with a higher Score. The Home Energy Score is designed as an “asset rating” meaning that the Score reflects a home’s structure and mechanical systems—for instance its insulation, air leakiness, heating, cooling, and water heating equipment—not how the occupants use the home. For example, a family that sets their thermostat very low in the summer to keep cool, and never turns off lights and electronics, may still have very high energy bills even in a high-scoring, efficient home.
Homes in different parts of the country use different amounts of energy because of climatic differences. A highscoring home in New England may still use more energy than a drafty home in Southern California just because of the difference in climate.
Does the size of my home matter?
Yes, the size of your home matters because larger homes tend to use more energy. If two houses have the same structure and equipment, but one is bigger, the smaller house will generally receive a higher (better) Score.
Would my Score be the same in different parts of the country?
Yes. You can use the Home Energy Score (in general) to compare one home to another in a different part of the country. However, you cannot use the Home Energy Score to compare your energy bill to another home across the country. The Home Energy Scoring Tool software takes into account the typical range of energy consumption in the region where you live and scores your home against that range. (See question “How is the Home Energy Score calculated?” answered above).
What’s the average Score?
Just like there is no average home, there is no average Score. More important than knowing how a home compares to the average is seeing how it compares to other homes that you might be looking at, and most importantly how well it could score with cost-effective improvements. The Score tells you what your improved Score would be if you made the recommended energy upgrades.
How long does it take to realize savings from the Score’s recommendations?
The total savings estimate shown with the home’s Score reflects the annual energy cost savings that would result after completing all the recommended improvements. The recommendations page lists annual dollar savings per improvement. Homeowners should expect to realize some savings as soon as they make improvements—however, the time required to recover the cost of making the improvements will vary depending upon the individual case. Some improvements can pay off within a couple of years; others take longer. Energy improvements recommended by the Home Energy Scoring Tool will generally pay back in 10 years or less.
How much does it cost to get a Home Energy Score?
It depends on where you live and how far the Assessor will need to travel to your home. The cost of an assessment is typically within a range of $99 to $200, however, the Score is free for some homeowners. To check to see if you qualify for a free assessment, please contact us here.