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Federal Program To Make Home Energy Audits Less Expensive

by Nancy Reinhart — last modified Dec 02, 2010 01:10 PM

In November, Vice President Biden joined U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the launch of the Home Energy Score pilot program for residential customers.

Professionals will rate participants' homes for energy efficiency on a scale of 1 to 10 (ten being excellent). The rating will show them how their home compares to others in the geographical region. Raters will also provide recommendations that will help to reduce their energy costs and improve the comfort of their homes.

The ratings will be done by RESNET certified Home Energy Survey Professionals or Building Performance Institute certified professionals. The DOE expects that these audits to cost less than private audits currently available to residential customers, primarily because the home rating is based mainly on a visual survey of the home, rather than actual energy efficiency testing.

Once the home rating is complete, qualified households may then apply for up to $25,000 in federally insured, PowerSaver loans at or below market rates to make recommended efficiency upgrades.

The following states and municipalities are participating in the pilot program: Charlottesville, Virginia; Allegheny County, Pennsylvania; Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts; Minnesota; Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Indiana; Portland, Oregon; South Carolina; Texas; and Eagle County, Colorado.  While Kentucky is not a participant at this point, DOE expects to launch a nationwide program after the pilot program is completed, in late 2011.

As a parallel to the Home Energy Score program, DOE released the Workforce Guidelines for Home Energy Upgrades, a comprehensive set of guidelines for workers in the residential energy efficiency industry. Kentucky now offers comprehensive training for individuals who want to become Building Performance Institute certified professionals. Read more about green careers in Kentucky here.

For more information about the Home Energy Score pilot program, visit HomeEnergyScore.gov. 

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