Imagine you are in the market to buy a car and comparing your options. You are weighing a number of factors in your purchasing decision, including performance, cost, size, and appearance. When you ask the salesperson what the miles-per-gallon rating for each car is, they shrug and say, “I don’t know.” Even if fuel efficiency is not the only factor you are considering, this would probably concern you as a prospective buyer.
And yet, this is how most people make decisions when buying or renting a home: without any information about how much energy the home is expected to use, how much this will cost them, or how to cost-effectively lower energy expenses.
Like a miles-per-gallon rating for a car, the Home Energy Score is an easy-to-produce rating designed to help homeowners and homebuyers gain useful information about a home's energy performance. Based on an in-home assessment that can be completed in less than an hour, the Home Energy Score not only lets a homeowner understand how efficient the home is and how it compares to others, but also provides recommendations on how to cost-effectively improve the home's energy efficiency.
Home Energy Score Rollover Graphic
The Home Energy Score uses a simple 1-to-10 scale where a 10 represents the most energy efficient homes. Mouse over the Home Energy Score graphic below to learn what specific parts of the label mean. Click on the "Show All Hotspots" button to see all places information is hidden in the graphic.
- An energy efficiency score based on the home's envelope (foundation, roof, walls, insulation, windows) and heating, cooling, and hot water systems
- A total energy use estimate, as well as estimates by fuel type assuming standard operating conditions and occupant behavior
- Recommendations for cost-effective improvements and associated annual cost savings estimates
- A "Score with Improvements" reflecting the home's expected score if cost-effective improvements are implemented
In 2010, the Energy Department recognized the need for a low-cost, reliable method for homeowners and buyers to understand their homes' energy efficiency. To address this, DOE researched how to create a nationally-applicable home energy labeling system. After extensive consumer research, software development, pilot studies, and focus groups, the DOE launched the Home Energy Score program in 2012.
Since then, Home Energy Score Assessors have scored over 50,000 homes nationwide.
The tool is uniquely refined to require minimal data input – to save on time, money, and training for Assessors – while producing maximum accuracy for energy use predictions. Read the Home Energy Score's Scoring Methodology on the tool and its assumptions, and the Summary from our 2014 Report about the tool's updates and analysis.
Home Energy Score is a recognized, widely used and influential tool in the market that leads to an improved U.S. housing stock with better energy performance, lower costs and greater comfort as well as more efficient use of natural resources.
Build market value for energy efficient single-family homes and townhomes that improve quality of life.
- Provide homeowners and homebuyers knowledge of home energy efficiency and cost-effective improvements in order to reduce energy use and costs.
- Encourage use of reliable, consistent home energy efficiency information in real estate transactions to inform decisions, and build a market value for comfortable, energy efficient homes.
- Integrate the Score into financing products to help drive the market for comfortable, energy efficient homes.