A Miles-Per-Gallon Rating for Your Home? Get Ready

The Energy Performance Score Lets Home Buyers Compare Home Energy Consumption

PORTLAND, OR, March 2010 : The last time you bought a car, especially in the current economy, you probably paid close attention to the fuel efficiency by looking at the mile-per-gallon ratings and comparing similar vehicles. Now home buyers in certain states may soon be able to do the same with homes, and it looks like the trend will go national.

Earth Advantage Institute, a leading nonprofit green building resource that has certified more than 11,000 homes, has played a key role in the conceptualization, promotion, and adoption of the Energy Performance Score (EPS), currently the only residential energy labeling system that enables buyers to directly compare home energy consumption. The tool provides homeowners with both an energy consumption score and an associated carbon emission score. The number is based on in-home measurements and diagnostics data, as well as your utility’s energy source, which are entered into online software for calculation.

Earth Advantage Institute

A technician from Earth Advantage Institute completes a duct test as part of the Energy Performance Score audit for a new home.

The EPS has proven popular enough in the Northwest that it has been rolled out on a voluntary basis for new homes in Oregon and in a large 5,000-home pilot for existing residences in Seattle. Both Oregon and Washington state legislatures have created task forces to explore the potential of mandatory energy labeling at time of listing.

Lawmakers see energy labeling as a key tool in motivating homeowners to make energy efficiency improvements. Homeowner surveys indicate the public is heavily in favor of having a rating system that can help them obtain information on energy performance, where to make improvements, and how to add to the value of their home.

“We use EPS information as a marketing tool to help sell our homes,” said Aaron Fairchild, president of G2B Ventures, a Seattle-based real estate investment firm. “The EPS is an amazingly innovative tool that will help us transform the Seattle real estate market.”

Now the federal government has turned its eyes toward energy labeling. The Department of Energy has targeted the month of October as the deadline for developing a voluntary national rating standard that may serve as a tool for banks and other institutions to provide preferred finance products for energy efficient, healthy homes.

“We pointed to energy labeling as one of the top 10 green building trends for 2010,” said Sean Penrith, executive director, Earth Advantage Institute. “The federal government has taken up the flag, and has asked for additional data on the EPS program to inform its efforts in creating a voluntary standard this year.”

Last month the Energy Performance Score won first place in the energy category at Change.org’s “Ideas for Change in America” and has now moved on to the final round of internet voting. If the idea is voted into the top ten, the Oregon-conceived EPS will be presented to key White House administration officials. You can vote for the EPS at www.change.org/ideas by scrolling down to the energy category and clicking on “A Miles-Per-Gallon Rating for Your Home.”

About Earth Advantage Institute and EPS

Earth Advantage Institute works with the building and design industry to help implement sustainable building practices. Its nonprofit mission is to create an immediate, practical and cost-effective path to sustainability and carbon reduction in the built environment. The organization achieves its objectives through a range of innovative certification, education and technical services programs. More information is available at www.earthadvantage.org, and more EPS information can be found at www.earthadvantage.org/eps.php.

Source: Earth Advantage Institute