Field Assessment of Energy Audit Tools for Retrofit Programs

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This project focused on the use of home energy ratings as a tool to promote energy retrofits in existing homes. A home energy rating provides a quantitative appraisal of a home’s asset performance, usually compared to a benchmark such as the average energy use of similar homes in the same region. Home rating systems can help motivate homeowners in several ways. Ratings can clearly communicate a home’s achievable energy efficiency potential, provide a quantitative assessment of energy savings after retrofits are completed, and show homeowners how they rate compared to their neighbors, thus creating an incentive to conform to a social standard. An important consideration is how rating tools for the retrofit market will integrate with existing home energy service programs. For residential programs that target energy savings only, home visits should be focused on key efficiency measures for that home. In order to gain wide adoption, a rating tool must be easily integrated into the field process, demonstrate consistency and reasonable accuracy to earn the trust of home energy technicians, and have a low monetary cost and time hurdle for homeowners. Along with the Home Energy Score, this project also evaluated the energy modeling performance of SIMPLE and REM/Rate.

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