Homeowners: Our Approach, Benefits and Common Recommendations

Division of Energy fact sheet
04/2020
Division of Energy Director: Craig Redmon
PUB2837

A contractor visits with a homeowner.Homeowners suffering from rooms that are too hot or too cold, or frustrated with high energy bills can turn to Home Performance with ENERGY STAR to help solve their comfort problems. The new program directs homeowners to contractors who are trained to provide comprehensive, unbiased assessments of their homes. This Home Performance with ENERGY STAR assessment includes a prioritized list of improvements that the contractor can perform to make the home more energy efficient, comfortable and healthy.

What to expect during a Home Performance with ENERGY STAR assessment

The Home Performance with ENERGY STAR assessment may take three to five hours. The contractor will charge a fee for the assessment. During the assessment, the contractor will test and visually inspect every part of your home. The contractor will give you a full report detailing what improvements should be made in your house. Items that will improve the energy efficiency of the house will be prioritized into levels according to their energy savings. Additional items for improving indoor air quality may also be recommended based on the results of the assessment.

How does a Home Performance with ENERGY STAR assessment work?

The Home Performance with ENERGY STAR assessment may take three to five hours, The contractor will charge a fee for the assessment. During the assessment, the contractor will test and visually inspect every part of your home. The contractor will give you a full report detailing what improvements should be made in your house. Items that will improve the energy efficiency of the house will be prioritized into levels according to their energy savings. Additional items for improving indoor air quality may also be recommended based on the results of the assessment.

Our Approach

Initial Appointment

The initial appointment with a homeowner is a home assessment during which the contractor surveys insulation levels, potential moisture problems, indoor water use, and equipment efficiencies. The contractor also uses diagnostic equipment, such as the blower door and duct blaster, to assess the home’s energy use and flaws and make recommendations for improvement. The blower door tests help to determine infiltration (how leaky the house is), and the duct blaster test determines duct leakage. In regards to indoor air quality, the contractor also conducts, when applicable, a combustion safety test to detect the potential for harmful gases being drawn into the living space.

Follow Up

By the completion of the initial appointment, which can take several hours depending on the complexity of the house, the contractor will provide a set of prioritized recommendations to the homeowner.

Homeowners have the final say

Homeowners can arrange to have any desired improvement work completed by either the contractor who performs the home assessment or another participating contractor. The homeowner is not obligated to choose any of the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR contractors.

Learn how the home energy audit leads to efficient home improvement recommendations.

Benefits

A mom and her child sit in front of a computer.The ENERGY STAR Brand Means Energy Efficiency

ENERGY STAR is the national symbol of energy efficiency, recognized by more than 60 percent of the American public. Last year alone, Americans with the help of ENERGY STAR saved about $10 billion on their energy bills while reducing greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of 20 million cars. ENERGY STAR is administered by EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

ENERGY STAR brand products and services have a high level of consumer confidence.

Lower Utility Bills

Energy-efficient homes cost less to heat and cool. Energy related improvements will provide immediate dollars on a monthly basis in terms of lower utility bills. Investments in energy-efficient upgrades add value to your home.

You can save 30 - 40% on your heating and cooling costs. The exact dollar amount will vary depending on your homes design, size and your personal comfort level. For example, savings can average between $200 and $400 per year with proper upgrades to a high-efficiency heating system.

Comfortable Rooms

Eliminating cold spots or overheated rooms makes a home comfortable. Many homeowners also report reduced dust and more comfortable humidity levels in winter and summer.

Environmental Benefits

Most energy in our homes comes from the burning of fossil fuels (coal, natural gas) that produce pollution. A more efficient home produces less pollution.

The average home is responsible for twice the air pollution than the average car. If one household in 10 used ENERGY STAR heating and cooling equipment, the change would prevent 17 billion pounds of air pollution and save about $1 billion in electricity costs.
An average of 23,000 pounds of carbon dioxide are emitted annually in each American home.
For every kilowatt hour of electricity saved in your home, you prevent about 2 ½ pounds of carbon dioxide (the gas thought to be primarily responsible for global warming) from being emitted. You also prevent sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxides (a gas that creates smog) from being released. (One 60-watt light bulb used five hours per day for 30 days uses nine kilowatt hours of electricity.)

A Healthier Home

Your home is more than the sum of its individual components. It's a combination of comfort, safety, energy and other environmental systems, all of which need to work together as a system. When a part of that system doesn't work, the whole sysstem can under-perform.

For the most part, contractors fix the obvious problems: replacing an air conditioning unit, for example. But if air ducts leak or registers are improperly sized, a new A/C unit won't solve the problem

Or a contractor could install a new furnace. But without examining whether the attic insulation is adequate or air circulation is proper, your home could still be uncomfortable.

Home Performance with ENERGY STAR works with contractors to ensure they have the training and skills to properly assess your home as a whole system and prescribe upgrades and enhancements that will give you better indoor quality, comfort and lower energy bills.

An inspector shines a flashlight into an attic opening on the ceiling.Common Recommendations

A Home Performance assessment is fully comprehensive. Items that are checked during every assessment include:

What kind of improvements might my house need?

Typical improvements recommended by Home Performance with ENERGY STAR include: