The U.S. Department of Energy issued a Request for Information June 8, 2010, inviting interested parties to submit comments regarding the proposal to create a National Energy Rating Program for Homes. This rating program is intended to offer consumers easy-to-understand, reliable information about the energy performance of existing homes, and help them identify cost-effective, energy-efficiency investments.

“Even though home energy retrofits are good investments that save families money, consumers often do not have the straightforward information on a home’s energy use that they need to decide whether to retrofit their homes and what investments make the most sense,” the DOE stated. “This national program will enable consumers to access additional information about their home’s energy use. It will facilitate a new level of investment in home energy efficiency by developing a consistent way of measuring a home’s energy performance and a clear method for conveying information to consumers.”

The stated goal of the National Energy Rating Program for Homes is to create standardized approaches for evaluating home energy performance and options for conveying this information to consumers. Issues under consideration include how to measure energy performance, what performance metrics to use, and how to best present information to consumers.

The DOE is seeking public input on the following aspects of the program:
  • Guiding principles for the program.

  • Options and approaches for key elements of the program.

  • Proposed DOE approaches.

  • Additional work that the DOE is considering.

The DOE expects an initial program design available by early fall 2010, with implementation collaboration with interested parties and ongoing residential energy-efficiency retrofit programs (such as Home Performance with Energy Star, weatherization, and other state and local energy-efficiency initiatives).

The deadline for submission of comments to the DOE is July 10, 2010. Interested parties may review and download the proposed National Energy Rating Program for Homes here. Comments may be submitted through the Request for Information page at http://www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/home_rating_rfi.html or via e-mail to buildingratingRFI@EE.DOE.GOV with “RFI: National Energy Rating Program for Homes” in the subject line of the message.

The Buildings Program will also host a Webinar on the RFI with all stakeholders at 1:30 p.m. EST on Monday, June 21.

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