Icicles and Sun, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0)image from Serge Melki’s photostream

We talk a lot about sustainability at this blog, so now we’re asking: How energy efficient is your home? And, wouldn’t it be great if when you were buying or selling a home, you could reliably know how energy efficient it was? Well, twelve lucky Allegheny County residents are about to find out. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is partnering with counties, utilities, and non-profit organizations across the country to test and evaluate a Home Energy Score. The Home Energy Score will allow a homeowner to find out how their home’s energy performance compares with other homes in the same area. The DOE likens it to knowing a vehicle’s mile-per-gallon rating. A home energy assessor evaluates a home’s energy systems based on its attributes (furnace, windows, walls, etc.) and scores it on a rating system from 1 – 10 (with 10 being the best rating). They also offer suggestions for how to improve a home’s score and explain the cost savings to be had from making the recommended improvements. Allegheny County was only one of ten areas in the country selected by the DOE for a pilot of this new home energy label.

The DOE has partnered with EfficiencyPA to chose the dozen homes in Allegheny County to be part of the pilot program. You can apply here to participate. Not only do the winners receive a free DOE Home Energy Score, as a final part of the EfficiencyPA House Tour, they may also be selected as a “green home hero” at the Allegheny County Green & Innovation Festival this Fall.

The Home Energy Score is not only a great tool for buying and selling a home, it’s a wonderful way to discover how improving the energy efficiency of a home can provide real savings to a homeowner. From EfficiencyPA’s website:

“For example, if your home was built between 1900-1909 and it costs around $5000 per year for electric and gas, a home score improvement from 4.2 to 5.9 might translate into savings of $2000 per year making the simple payback period 5 years for $10,000 worth of improvements.”

Lastly, be sure to check out EfficiencyPA’s Facebook page and “Like” what you see there!