On Nov. 9, Vice President Joe Biden and Dept. of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the pilot of Home Energy Score, a program that scores houses based on their energy performance versus others in the region and provides customized recommendations for energy cost reduction. Also released was the Workforce Guidelines for Home Energy Upgrades, designed to develop and expand contractors’ skills while laying a foundation for a future, more robust national certification and training program.

Developed by the DOE and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Home Energy Score tool uses about 40 points to generate a score on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 representing a home with excellent energy performance and 1 representing a home that would benefit from major upgrades. The process, which evaluates “energy assets” such as HVAC systems and insulation levels, will take a trained and certified contractor (a “Home Energy Assessor”) about an hour to complete. Included with their score will be a list of suggested upgrades, along with estimated utility bill savings, payback period, and greenhouse gas emissions reduction for each component.

Click here to view an interactive sample Home Energy Score label and learn more about how the program works.

"The Home Energy Score will help make energy efficiency easy and accessible to America's families by providing them with straightforward and reliable information about their homes' energy performance and specific, cost-effective energy efficiency improvements," said Secretary Chu in a statement.

Home Energy Assessors must be certified by the Building Performance Institute or RESNET and complete a DOE online training module. For more information on becoming a Home Energy Assessor, click here.

The program will roll out nationally sometime next year, following a test period with local government, utility, and non-profits that will examine how homeowners respond and if and how the scores lead to energy improvements. Click here for a list of pilot testing locations.

Katy Tomasulo is Deputy Editor for EcoHome.