Keeping Score

March/April 2003
This article originally appeared in the March/April 2003 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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March 01, 2003
A package of software tools is designed to make routine measurement of actual energy savings cost-effective for home performance contractors.
More than 76 million residential buildings and nearly 5 million commercial buildings together use one-third of all the energy consumed in the United States, and two-thirds of all the electricity.  The demand that these buildings place on increasingly scarce energy resources will create inevitable growth for weatherization programs and the building performance industry. That’s the good news for those of us in the home performance profession. But as this industry moves toward maturity, it will have to face questions of efficiency and quality control that are common to any industry. To start to address these questions, we first have to ask ourselves, as building performance professionals, What do we produce when we do a retrofit of a building? We aim to save energy and dollars, but do we really know what we have saved? My own and others’ experiences as building performance contractors have shown us that crews and auditors are anxious for real feedback on their savings performance.  Without it, program managers and crews can’t optimize their ability to produce savings. So how do we measure what we saved at a low enough cost that we can actually routinely afford to measure it? I ...

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