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Home Energy Audits and Decision-Making

Overview

This research was conducted for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in collaboration with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Earth Advantage Institute, and Research Into Action, Inc., with the partnership of Seattle City Light, the City of Seattle, and Puget Sound Energy. The ultimate mission of the research was to assist the DOE in evaluating and improving home energy assessment tools, in understanding consumer motivation and decision-making behavior, in assuring retrofit quality, in assessing energy retrofit costs and savings, in honing auditor training requirements, and in knowing more about consumer and market reactions to home energy and carbon use labels and scores. The results inform DOE’s planned deployment of a Home Energy Score label and home energy audit pilots taking place in ten different locations nationwide.


Background
During 2010 and 2011, thousands of news articles promoted the potential benefits of home energy audits and of subsequent energy efficiency improvements, signaling a resurgence of interest in motivating homeowners to assess and upgrade their homes. An increasing number of home energy audit programs were already underway in the United States, and auditors, utilities, and others learn from these experiences, and continue to try to design more effective audits, pitches, and programs, as they have for more than thirty years since the advent of home energy audits in the 1970s.

Papers & Reports

  • Ingle, A., M. Moezzi, L. Lutzenhiser, R. Diamond. How Well Do Home Energy Audits Serve the Homeowner? 2012 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings. [PDF link - 250KB
  • Behavioral Perspectives of Home Energy Audits: The Role of Auditors, Labels, Reports, and Audit Tools on Homeowner Decision-Making. (July 2012). [full PDF link - 10.6MB]
    • Aaron Ingle, Mithra Moezzi, Loren Lutzenhiser, and Zac Hathaway [Portland State University]
    • Susan Lutzenhiser, Joe Van Clock, and Jane Peters [Research Into Action]
    • Rebecca Smith and David Heslam [Earth Advantage Institute]
    • Rick Diamond [Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory]

Resources & Links

Contact Us

For more information on this project, please contact retrofit@pdx.edu