Interpreting the Label
The Home Energy Scoring Tool produces a five-page report. The first page displays the existing home’s score with the score and savings the home would obtain by implementing a package of energy-saving improvements. Pages 2-4 document the user inputs and key assumptions. Page 5 lists two groups of specific improvements ("Repair Now" and "Replace Later") and their individual savings in dollars per year. A unique "Score ID" is included on each page.
Page 1 - "Score"
Current Score (1). Every home receives a score between 1 and 10, based on current estimated energy use, with 10 being the most efficient (energy-intensive) and 1 being the least efficient. The range of scores reflects that of homes in the given area.
Score with Improvements (2). An additional score is shown, reflecting the estimated savings the home would obtain by implementing all measures from the Recommendations Page that pay back within 10 years.
Estimated annual savings (3). The estimated total of those measures paying back within 10 years. Note that some of the measures on the Recommendations Page have longer payback periods.
To most fully reflect the value of asset-based upgrades, scores are computed based only on the energy use associated with those features (essentially heating, cooling, and water-heating).
Pages 2-4 - "Home Facts"
These pages summarize the inputs and assumptions used in calculating energy use and savings for the home. They should be kept with the Label for future reference.
Home Facts 1 (Page 2) displays the estimated whole-house energy use per year. These estimates, as with the "Score with Improvements," are based on the upgrades that payback within 10 years.
Page 5 - "Recommendations"
Only measures pertaining to the "assets" of the home (envelope and major equipment) are evaluated. Measures for appliances, lighting, and other equipment, as well as savings achievable through behavioral or operational changes (e.g., thermostats) can be evaluated using complementary tools, such as the Home Energy Saver Pro.
Measures are evaluated based on the difference between the energy use of the home's existing equipment and the upgraded efficiency level (typically ENERGY STAR). Only measures that have a 10 year or less simple payback period are listed.
"Repair Now" Recommendations (1): These are measures related to the home envelope such as insulation and duct sealing. Because the building components related to these measures typically last the life of the home, the estimated upgrade costs used in calculating the payback period are the total costs of the upgrade.
"Replace Later" Recommendations (2): These are measures related to the home's major equipment such as the HVAC system and the water heater. Because these upgrades are assumed to be implemented at end-of-life, the estimated upgrade costs used in calculating the payback are "net cost" - that is, the cost difference between equipment with minimum efficiency levels currently available and that of the higher efficiency (typically ENERGY STAR) upgrade being recommended. Thus, only the incremental cost difference between what would be spent to replace equipment with minimum efficiency improvement and the more efficient upgrades is used in the calculations.
The source for the cost estimates used in the HEScore is the National Residential Efficiency Measures Database, created by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Official and Non-Official Scoring Tool Labels
The Scoring Tool offers several assessment types:
- QA (used for one assessor to review the work of another)
- Alternative EEM (an alternate method that does not use the standard scoring tool recommendations and compares differently configured "base" homes)
- Test (runs submitted as part of the development process or for testing).
Labels generated in the course of Initial, Corrected, and Final assessments are considered official, and the scoring tool label in these cases will show "Assessment type: Official Score." Buildings submitted with assessment types QA, Alternative EEM, or Test do not have the primary purpose of assessing the building. Hence, while a label form can be generated, it will be watermarked "Sample Only," and the assessment type will show "Assessment type: Non-Official Score."