If you are a homeowner in the District of Columbia, and your home is:
- Single-family or townhouse (no condominiums or co-ops)
- 4,000 square feet or less
You canapply for a free home energy audit from DDOE (no income guidelines required).
This program promotes energy efficiency assessments for single family homes in the District. Based on a home energy rating system, auditors will suggest specific cost-effective, energy efficient improvements that should be done to reduce the home’s operational costs and improve comfort.
Such improvements and ratings may help you qualify for lower rate mortgages or energy efficiency home mortgages. Your energy rating should also help sellers be more attractive to home buyers.
What is a home energy rating?
The Home Energy Rating is a standard measurement of a home’s energy efficiency. An energy rating allows a homebuyer to easily compare the energy costs for the homes being considered. A homeowner who wants to upgrade the home’s energy efficiency can use the energy rating to evaluate and pinpoint specific cost-effective improvement needs.
Home energy ratings involve an on-site inspection of a home by a residential energy efficiency professional, a home energy rater. DDOE has selected Access Green, Carbon Cross DBA EcoHouse and Elysian Energy, LLC to conduct the Home Energy Ratings. As a rule, home energy raters come from either the housing or energy fields. Their backgrounds include experience as home inspectors, appraisers, energy auditors, low-income Weatherization contractors, and energy efficient homebuilders and designers.
The home energy rater inspects the home and measures energy characteristics such as: insulation levels, window efficiency, wall-to-wall ratios, the heating and cooling system efficiency, the solar orientation of the home, and the water heating system. Diagnostic testing, which may include a blower door for air leakage and duct leakage testing, is often part of the rating.
The data gathered by the home energy rater is entered into a computer program and translated into points. The home receives a point score between 1 and 100, depending on its relative efficiency. An estimate of the home’s energy costs is also provided. The home’s energy efficiency is then equated to a STAR rating ranging from 1 STAR for a very inefficient home to a 5 STAR for a highly efficient home. Along with the rating sheet, homeowners receive a report listing cost-effective options for improving the home’s energy rating.
|FIVE STAR + (PLUS)||= EXTREMELY EFFICIENT|
|FIVE STAR||= VERY EFFICENT|
|FOUR STAR + +||= EFFICIENT|
|FOUR STAR||= GOOD|
|THREE STAR + +||= ABOVE AVERAGE|
|THREE STAR||= AVERAGE|
|TWO STAR + +||= BELOW AVERAGE|
|TWO STAR||= FAIR|
|ONE STAR + +||= POOR|
|ONE STAR||= EXTREMLY POOR|
One of the major differences between a home energy rating and an energy audit or weatherization assessment is that the rating is a recognized tool in the mortgage process. Home energy ratings are valuable to the housing industry and can be utilized in a variety of ways. The information derived from the home energy rating provides important information about a home’s performance and the economic analysis necessary to support lending decisions.