updated 11/11/2010 11:17:24 AM ET 2010-11-11T16:17:24

PORTLAND, Ore., Nov. 11, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Earth Advantage Institute, a nonprofit green building certification and research organization, will be conducting research for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to help inform DOE's recently announced federal Home Energy Score (HES) system.  HES is designed to boost home energy upgrade rates and will be piloted in nine locations around the nation, including Massachusetts, Oregon and Virginia.

Earth Advantage Institute, a nonprofit green building certification and research organization, will be conducting research for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to help  inform DOE's recently announced federal Home Energy Score (HES) system.  HES is designed to boost home energy upgrade rates and will be piloted in nine locations around the nation, including Massachusetts, Oregon and Virginia.

The DOE's new Home Energy Score methodology brings energy labeling of homes to the mainstream. Various states and municipalities have been piloting residential energy labeling programs as a means to assist real estate markets in valuing energy efficiency and to motivate homeowners who sign up for energy audits to take the next step to actual retrofit upgrades

As a pioneer in energy labeling, Earth Advantage Institute was selected by the DOE to compare the results of the federal government's Home Energy Score software tool to the results of the Energy Performance Score tool. The Energy Performance Score (EPS) is used in calculating a home's expected energy consumption and associated carbon emissions.

The DOE-funded research is being conducted in Seattle, where an Earth Advantage Institute-led research team will overlay this analysis onto an existing 5,000-home pilot of the EPS and web-based delivery system funded by the City of Seattle.

"The development and introduction of the HES is a welcome advancement in elevating the importance of benchmarking the performance of homes," said Sean Penrith, executive director, Earth Advantage Institute. "We have been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to inform DOE on our research and expect the EPS to offer a significant supplementary technical data to the agency that will assist them in determining next steps." 

Additionally the DOE is funding implementation of EPS pilots in four states over the next three years; Massachusetts, Virginia, Alabama, and Washington. Earth Advantage Institute's pivotal role will enable the organization to offer further perspectives and findings that will be of use to the DOE.

The HES is a statistical score that compares a home's estimated total energy consumption against a large group of homes in that climate zone. A typical home would be an HES of 5, an average size ENERGY STAR home about a 9 or 10, and a "net-zero"  home – one that produces more energy than it consumes – would be a 10.

The EPS is a technical measure of total energy consumption that allows one-to-one comparisons of homes at all levels of energy and carbon use. For EPS, a typical home would be about 28,000 on energy, an ENERGY STAR home about 22,000, and a net-zero home would be 0. In this way the EPS allows for a clear one-ton-one comparison of expected home energy use.

Tom Breunig

Director of Marketing

Earth Advantage Institute

(503) 968-7160

tbreunig@earthadvantage.org

About Earth Advantage

Earth Advantage Institute is a nonprofit organization that works with the building industry to help implement sustainable building practices. Its mission is to create an immediate, practical and cost-effective path to sustainability and reduction of carbon in the built environment. The organization achieves its objectives through an innovative range of programs for industry professionals, including certification of high performance homes, remodels, sustainable communities and commercial spaces. These programs are supported by a top-rated education department, offering basic and advanced classes on building, marketing, and valuing green homes; and by a technical services team that provides a variety of onsite tests and energy audits. Earth Advantage Institute's Carbon Advantage program offers consulting on carbon reduction strategies within the built environment.  More information is available at its website.

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