Energy Fit Homes: A Tool to Transform the Market for Energy Efficiency in Existing Homes

Carl Nelson, Chris Duffrin, Rebecca Olson, Isaac Smith, Jennifer Edwards, Helen Booth-Tobin - February, 2014

Incorporating the value of energy-efficiency improvements at the time of sale for existing homes is critical for the scaling up of residential energy efficiency. Recently there have been national discussions of the best method to accomplish this objective. We propose here a state-level energy-efficiency certificate approach for homes that achieve a basic standard of energy efficiency.

Key features that we feel are critical for the success and scalability of the certificate program are that it:

  • be designed specifically for existing homes, not merely an adapted new-home tool;
  • focus on energy-efficiency;
  • be achievable for the average homeowner through cost-effective upgrades;
  • have flexibility in achieving requirements, as long as energy performance targets are met;
  • have certification requirements that tie in to utility-funded energy-efficiency programs; 
  • have credible standards and reliable third-party verification that standards are met; and
  • have a simple and clear program process.

The Center for Energy and Environment (CEE), in partnership with the Neighborhood Energy Connection (NEC), has developed such a certificate program specifically for Minnesota’s existing homes, called “Energy Fit Homes,” which will be introduced later in 2014. This paper describes the rationale for this program as well as the proposed standards and program process.


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