About the Home Energy Score

What is the Home Energy Score?

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.

Example Home Energy Score

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.

The Home Energy Score uses a simple 1-to-10 scale where a 10 represents the most energy efficient homes.

The mission of the Home Energy Score program is to build market value for home energy efficiency among single-family and townhomes. Home Energy Score accomplishes this by valuing, understanding, and financing home energy efficiency with nationwide household recognition.

Features of the Home Energy Score
  • 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 Fall 2009, the Vice President and the White House Council on Environmental Quality called upon the Department of Energy to create a nationally-applicable home energy labeling system. After years of 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 40,000 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.

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