Positive Outcomes from Remote Home Energy Assessments 09/02/2021

EWEB's Home Energy Score (HES) Program has concluded for 2021 with 70 property owners and tenants participating in energy audits. The program, which is part of a national energy efficiency program with the Department of Energy helps tenants, rental owners, and limited-income property owners better understand the energy and water usage in their properties and possibly help lower monthly utility bills.

Once again this year, University of Oregon student interns performed the assessments, and, despite pandemic restrictions, achieved a 59% increase in homes assessed per employee compared to 2019. For health and safety reasons, assessments were conducted remotely and may have been a factor in the increased response rate as it is convenient for the residents to participate.

Program Leader Matt Lutter created an assessment tool to accommodate the remote work, aligning with the Department of Energy's official Home Energy Score tool. "Even with data limitations from the work being done remotely, we concluded that it was accurate enough to be effective and helpful for residents and property owners," concluded Lutter.

One student intern created a webpage for the City of Eugene focused on Home Energy Score. She then conducted research into city sustainability efforts and conducted interviews with local businesses. The student has subsequently been appointed to the City's Sustainability Commission by the City Council and is working on a sustainability-focused internship. She credits both opportunities to her experience working with UO's Score program.

Since the program began in 2017, 618 homes have received Home Energy Scores and 154 energy efficiency improvements have been made to homes. In total, property owners have invested $555,000 in upgrades and taken advantage of $106,000 in rebates from EWEB. These projects save 211,000 kWh per year, roughly equivalent to the carbon sequestered by 180 acres of forest. In total, eight homes have converted away from fossil fuels for heating. Carbon savings calculations vary, but the Score program has resulted in an annual carbon savings of around 23,000 pounds of C02e.

This program is made possible through a grant from The City of Eugene. If you are interested in a home energy assessment, please watch for the program's reopening in early 2022. 

Are you renting your residence or do you own a rental property? See our Rental Property Resources for more information about improving your energy efficiency.