User Interface

Input Pages

The Home Energy Scoring Tool, or HEScore, has five simple pages of user inputs used to describe the home construction and equipment (illustrated in the following sections). If the home has the same window and wall types on each building side, the total number of required inputs typically is less than 50. The exact wordings of the required inputs along with a more detailed log of the questions and required inputs are included in the checklist here.

About this Home

Tool

  • Assessment date
  • Year built
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Stories above ground
  • Interior floor-to-ceiling height
  • Conditioned floor area
  • Direction faced by front of house
  • Was a blower door test conducted on this house?
    • If yes, air leakage rate (CFM 50)
    • If no, has the house been professionally air sealed?

Roof, Attic, and Foundation

Roof & Attic

  • Roof construction
  • Roof color or exterior roof absorbance
  • Attic or ceiling type
  • Insulation level of the attic floor
  • Foundation type
  • Foundation insulation level
  • Insulation level of the floor above the basement or crawlspace

Walls

Walls

  • Is this home a townhouse or D=duplex?
  • If the home is a townhouse/duplex, position of townhouse unit
  • Is the exterior wall construction the same on all sides?
    • Front (or all sides same)
    • Back, Right, or Left (if type is townhouse and adjoining walls are set by the system)
  • Construction
  • Exterior finish
  • Insulation level

Windows and Skylights

Windows/skylights

  • Does house have skylights?
  • Skylight size
  • Skylight type
  • Glazings, frames, or fill
  • U-factor
  • Solar heat gain coefficient
  • Window area: front, back, right, or left
  • Window types are same on all sides
    • Front, back, right, or left
  • Glazings, frames, or fill
  • U-factor
  • Solar heat gain coefficient

Systems

Systems
  • Type of heating system
  • Heating system efficiency
  • Year heating system installed
  • Type of cooling system
  • Cooling system efficiency
  • Year cooling system installed
  • Duct location (up to three)
  • Percentage of total ducts in each location
  • Duct insulation
  • Duct sealing
  • Water heater type
  • Year water heater installed
  • Water heater Energy Factor

Asset Summary

When all of the required inputs are completed, a summary page is displayed and any invalid input values are flagged in red for correction.

Home Energy Score

Figure2
In an effort to develop a scoring system that could fairly compare the energy performance of existing homes, the U.S. Department of Energy accounted for many different factors along with other available data sources. DOE sought to develop a simple system that allows consumers to understand how a home compares to other homes, regardless of location and weather patterns. The current methodology is applicable to single-family homes and townhouses in the continental United States.
The HEScore tool scores a home on a 10-point scale, where a 10 corresponds to greatest efficiency (minimal energy use). Each point on the scale corresponds to a specific source BTU level. National average source energy factors are used to calculate a total energy value for electricity, natural gas, liquified propane gas, and distillate fuel oil energy sources delivered to the home. The source energy factors are from the Energy Star Portfolio Manager Technical Reference (US EPA, 2013).

Recommendations

In keeping with the asset-based methodology, a consistent set of upgrade recommendations must be considered for each home (variations in which are recommended as a function of home characteristics, cost-effectiveness, etc.). Upgrades considered in the HEScore tool include improvements to the home envelope and major equipment (the "assets") but not to lighting, appliances, or usage changes. Unlike other Home Energy Saver tools, HEScore applies a fixed, standardized retrofit cost (from the NREL National Residential Efficiency Measures Database) and generates recommendations, providing the highest performance level with a payback time of 10 years or less. Energy savings are those achieved by moving between the existing home and the deemed efficiency level of the upgrade. 

HEScore currently provides the following two categories and specific upgrades:

Type 1 - Improvements Recommended Now
These upgrades can help save energy right away:
  • Attic insulation
  • Basement wall insulation
  • Basement/crawlspace floor insulation
  • Crawlspace wall insulation
  • Air tightness
  • Exterior walls
  • Ducts - seal
  • Ducts - insulate
The Type 1 incremental cost used for the cost-benefit analysis is the full cost of installation.

Type 2 - Recommendations for When You Need to Replace Equipment
These recommendations will help save energy when it is time to replace or upgrade:
  • Central air conditioner
  • Boiler or furnace or heat pump
  • Room air conditioner
  • Roof - reflectance
  • Roof - insulated sheathing
  • Skylights
  • Siding - insulated sheathing
  • Water heater
  • Windows
The Type 2 incremental cost used for the cost-benefit analysis is the cost differential between equipment complying with current standards and cost of the upgrade (Energy Star, where applicable).

It is important to note that the sum of the savings from the individual measures of the recommendations report may not equal the total savings for the package of selected upgrades (the number shown on the label). This difference is due to interactive effects of individual energy improvements. When improvements reduce energy consumption within the same end use (e.g., a window upgrade plus an air conditioner upgrade), the resulting dollar savings is less than the sum of the savings shown for the individual improvements.