Buildings account for approximately 41 percent of all energy consumption, 72 percent of electricity usage, and over one-third of greenhouse gas emissions. Largely due to aging housing stock, the residential sector in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region has significant potential to reduce emissions and ultimately create healthier homes.
Residential energy labeling offers a variety of benefits to homeowners, renters, potential buyers, sellers, and communities by shedding light on important information that is often overlooked - the energy performance or usage homes. By informing residents of their home's energy needs, labels empower residents to take an active role in the management of their energy and finances.
The ability to estimate energy costs and system needs protects consumers by providing transparency to the costs of operating a home. Home energy labels protect consumers through transparency and help residents lower energy bills, which are often one of the largest expenses for homeowners and disproportionately burden low-income and historically marginalized home owners and renters.
NEEP offers tools, resources, and technical assistance to support residential energy labeling and retrofit policies and programs at the community and state levels. NEEP’s labeling tools include the Home Energy Labeling Information eXchange (HELIX) and the Energy Estimator, allows access to solutions to track progress toward decarbonization goals and provide transparency to homeowners, renters, and real estate professionals. NEEP’s whole-home retrofit tool called Total Energy Pathways, aims to achieve a simple, affordable way to complete a comprehensive, bundled retrofit approach.
NEEP also offers technical assistance in state and community labeling efforts that often comes in the form of information sharing on essential components for labeling policies and programs, sample policy language, guidance on stakeholder engagement and program development, and more. See the topics below or the pages linked in the sidebar for more information on available tools and resources. For more information, contact , Residential Program Associate, or , Energy & Climate Associate.
Benefits of Labeling & Policy Approaches
Home energy labeling offers many benefits
Home energy labeling empowers homeowners to make informed decisions about their homes and can help protect residents from burdensome energy costs. Energy labels help residents to better understand their home’s energy system and identify appropriate energy efficiency upgrades for energy and cost savings and maintaining healthy home environments. The labeling process identifies the most effective efficiency measures for a particular property, assisting the resident in prioritizing measures that will have the biggest impacts on health and cost savings.
- Homebuyers can use labels to make informed purchasing decisions with a more comprehensive understanding of a home’s energy system and usage.
- Studies show that homes with disclosed energy information sell faster, regardless of performance. Sellers can also market energy features that may be attractive to prospective buyers or can use the information to make strategic upgrades before putting the home on the market.
- Realtors can offer prospective clients even more information about home features and appraisers can offer more accurate valuations.
- Residential labeling is a public educational tool that allows utilities to encourage customers to pay more attention to energy usage or even change behaviors in order to reduce energy costs. Retrofits of low-performing homes can increase system reliability and decrease utility customer service costs.
- Occupants of labeled homes are more likely to invest in energy efficiency measures such as purchasing high-efficiency products and hiring skilled energy professionals. Labeling will increase the demand for the local energy workforce, including auditors and contractors. Occupants of healthy buildings also see higher rates of productivity.
There are a variety of approaches to home energy labeling
Essential labeling policy or program considerations include covered buildings (e.g. single family only or also multifamily), compliance style (e.g. voluntary, mandatory, or phased), trigger point (e.g. time of listing, sale, or lease), disclosure or rating type (e.g. bill disclosure, certified assessment, or custom label). It is essential to engage stakeholders at the start of the process, regardless of the program type. See the below resources for more information on building a residential energy labeling policy.
Tools for Residential Energy Labeling & Green Real Estate
NEEP’s labeling tools include the Home Energy Labeling Information eXchange (HELIX) and the Energy Estimator. HELIX is a central repository of data which can be used to track completed labels for policy tracking and compliance. HELIX can also be used to automatically populate home energy feature information to real estate listings. With a multitude of home energy labels, certifications, and solar PV data available for homes, the Home Energy Labeling Information eXchange (HELIX) bridges the gap in the market by making a central repository of home energy labels, certifications, and solar PV data accessible to local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and other market interests. Energy Estimator – Powered by HELIX & ClearlyEnergy is a tool that uses publically available information along with homeowner inputs and an automated energy model to generate estimated energy usage and costs for a given home.
Residential Retrofit Solutions
Residential homes and buildings are a substantial share of the building stock in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region and also represent a significant opportunity to capture energy efficiency savings through cost-effective retrofit measures. As policymakers set stronger energy efficiency and carbon reduction goals, the need to address this housing sector has never been more vital. Lowering the energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions of the building sector necessitates comprehensive, deep energy retrofit programs for existing residential buildings to achieve immediate carbon reductions as well as long-term energy savings, improved occupant health, and advanced building performance.
Linked below are NEEP’s resources for residential retrofit solutions and program tracking. Feel free to reach out for more.