As states design policies and programs to encourage energy efficiency in homes, one challenge is lack of homeowner awareness and information on the energy performance of their properties. This makes energy efficiency hard to prioritize when making home buying and retrofit or upgrade decisions.
To address this challenge, several states have developed residential energy labeling programs and policies. Residential energy labeling programs produce an assessment of a home’s energy performance and compares it to that of other similar homes. They provide valuable information for homeowners, homebuyers, and other stakeholders such as real estate professionals, appraisers, lenders, and contractors. The energy label and supplementary information are used to inform real estate purchasing decisions or investments in energy efficiency upgrades. Numerous considerations go into state and local residential energy labeling programs, such as determining the best metrics to use when describing home energy performance and how to account for differences in new and existing homes.
NASEO is working with the State Energy Offices on several home energy labeling and home energy scoring initiatives, including:
- Energy Metrics to Promote Residential Energy Scorecards in States (EMPRESS)
NASEO is also working with the Rhode Island Energy Office in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, the Missouri Division of Energy, the Arkansas Energy Office, the Oregon Department of Energy, as well as Energy Futures Group, Earth Advantage and Vermont Energy Investment Corporation on the Energy Metrics to Promote Residential Energy Scorecards in States (EMPRESS) project.
- Home Energy Labeling Information Exchange (HELIX)
NASEO is a subcontractor to the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships and is working with the Vermont Public Service Department, Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, Energize Connecticut, and the United States Department of Energy.
- Residential Energy Labeling Coordination
To better coordinate activities and assist states in leveraging resources, NASEO holds a Residential Energy Labeling Coordination call each month, and conducts periodic meetings in conjunction with the NASEO Annual Meeting and Energy Outlook Conference. The calls provide a forum for State Energy Offices, local governments, interested NASEO Affiliate Members, and other stakeholders active in residential energy labeling to elevate best practices, new approaches, and market concerns.
- Past initiative: Multi-State Residential Retrofit
As part of a 2010 U.S. State Energy Program competitive award, NASEO worked with energy offices from four states - Alabama, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Washington - on a residential retrofit pilot program. Each of the states utilized a variety of strategies, including energy labels, innovative marketing approaches, financial incentives, and workforce development, to facilitate homeowner investments in residential energy efficiency upgrades.
Reports and Presentations
NASEO Report: Residential Energy Labeling: Strategies for Scalability
This report documents recent trends in residential energy labeling and includes updates from 10 states and other national organizations regarding their residential energy labeling policies and programs. Additionally, the report describes ongoing priorities and challenges related to residential energy labeling based on feedback provided by State Energy Offices and other leaders in this field.
The report grew out of a February 2014 meeting hosted by NASEO and co-organized by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources and Earth Advantage. NASEO thanks the State Energy Offices and other meeting attendees for their valuable contributions and feedback.
Full Report, “Residential Energy Labeling: Strategies for Scalability”
Upcoming Calls and Webinars
NASEO hosts monthly home energy labeling coordination calls for states and cities that have adopted or are considering adopting home energy labeling ordinances. Contact Ed Carley for more information.
Reports and presentations from other organizations:
- U.S. Department of Energy Home Energy Score is a national residential energy labeling program. The Home Energy Score is mainly used for existing homes.
- Earth Advantage, a non-profit based in Oregon, works with State Energy Offices, local jurisdictions, and utilities to design residential energy labeling programs and implement software and other labeling tools.
- RESNET manages the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index, which is a system for inspecting and calculating a home's energy performance. HERS scores are predominantly used in new construction.
State and Local Government Resources
- Energy Trust of Oregon: Energy Performance Score
One of the longest-running state energy labeling programs, the Energy Trust of Oregon implements the EPS (Energy Performance Score) program. The EPS is an energy performance score that rates the efficiency of a home and measures it against similar-sized homes in Oregon.
- Berkeley, California Building Energy Saving Ordinance
Berkeley’s Building Energy Saving Ordinance (BESO) “requires building owners and homeowners to complete and publicly report comprehensive energy assessments to uncover energy saving opportunities at the time of sale.
- Portland Home Energy Score
Portland’s Home Energy Score ordinance requires a Home Energy Score be obtained and disclosed prior to listing a home for sale effective January 1, 2018.