Not too long ago I would have considered myself a fairly knowledgeable person when it comes to my home’s energy efficiency. My appliances are relatively new and Energy Star–certified, I unplug electronics that aren’t in use, and I have a smart thermostat that turns off the air conditioning (AC) and furnace when I’m not home. Based on these efforts, I figured my home was considerably more energy efficient than the average house. That was until I had my Home Energy Score calculated, which assessed my home’s structure, cooling, and hot-water systems.

My “considerably more energy-efficient home” was in reality below average, earning a Home Energy Score of 3 out of a total of 10. How could this be? Turns out, my house was leaking energy through its aging single-pane windows and paper-thin attic insulation. All of my fancy efficiency gadgets and well-intentioned OCD behavior were being undermined by cheap, old windows and terrible insulation. A whole-home retrofit program would fix this problem—and many others—and raise my Home Energy Score to 6; it would also help me pocket hundreds of dollars of additional annual savings.

Stock image of an old, dilapidated window with chipping white paint

The Home Energy Score really changed the way I view the energy efficiency of my house, making me consider the whole thing as a single unit instead of just a bunch of separate appliances and gadgets. From our new report Driving Deeper Savings in Whole-Home Retrofit Programs—Part 2: Five Tips for Getting Deeper Energy Savings (Part 2 in a two-part series based on our Whole-Home Efficiency Retrofit Program Benchmark), E Source Demand-Side Management Service members can learn the latest best practices for getting customers to think more broadly about their home energy use. The report additionally provides strategies to increase the savings from whole-home programs. (Part 1—Improving Participation in Whole-Home Retrofit Programs—Part 1: Six Tips to Boost Enrollment in Home Performance Programs—is also available to Demand-Side Management Service members.)

Home Energy Score, a tool developed by the US Department of Energy for use by utilities, is just one way utilities help customers rank and compare their consumption. Energy data analytics firms like Opower and WattzOn partner with utilities to help customers monitor their energy usage and compare consumption with similarly sized homes. Utilities also use thermal imaging to inform homeowners of their entire house’s usage compared to that of their neighbors. Getting customers to think holistically about home energy performance is just one way utilities can make them aware of the investment opportunities that will result in the most substantial savings on their energy bill.

To read all the content related to our Whole-Home Efficiency Retrofit Program Benchmark, visit the benchmark web page. As a bonus, Residential Marketing Service members can view the marketing-specific excerpted report Marketing Whole-Home Retrofit Programs.