Frequently Asked Questions
Energy Specialist FAQ
What is the Energy Performance Score?
The Energy Performance Score (EPS) is a miles-per-gallon type rating for homes that represents a home's energy use and associated carbon emissions. It can also be accompanied by a report that recommends how the home can be improved to make it more energy efficient and comfortable. .
What is the benefit of the Energy Performance Score?
Similar to how a consumer can compare the MPG rating of a vehicle when considering a purchase, the Energy Performance Score provides consumers information that allows them to compare the energy use and associated costs with living in one home as opposed to another. The EPS provides an easily understood graphic that Energy Specialists can use to illustrate for homeowners the energy and cost savings associated with recommended improvements..
How are Energy Performance Scores calculated?
Energy Performance Scores are calculated based on the physical attributes of the home, the different types of equipment and appliances in the home, and the climate. The score is calculated independent of homeowner behavior, so the score provided shows what the energy use of the home would be with "average" occupants living in it.
What was made "average" for the purposes of calculating the estimated annual energy use?
Any occupant behavior was made average: thermostat settings, hot water use, hot water heater temperature settings, amount of plugged in miscellaneous electronic devices (televisions, lamps, toasters, etc...), cooking use, and clothes dryer use. Occupancy is also eliminated from the EPS score. Occupancy numbers for a home are based on the number of bedrooms in the home.
I figured out the annual energy usage from the utility bills and it doesn't match the EPS score. Why is that?
There are many reasons why your actual energy use might be different from your EPS score. Anything that you do differently from what is deemed "average" for your size home will make the difference larger. The two biggest factors are the number of occupants in the home (e.g., . 2 people living in a 5 bedroom home would have a lower actual use than their home's EPS), and thermostat settings (e.g., setting the thermostat to 74 degrees in the winter will cause your actual energy use to be much higher than your home's EPS).
Does the EPS score reflect the amount of energy consumed on site, or does it account for source energy?
The Energy Score reflects the amount of energy used on-site(i.e. at the home), but the Carbon Score reflects source energy (i.e. energy produced at an off-site source for the home, such as a power plant). Source energy takes into account inherent inefficiencies associated with transmitting electricity to the home, as well as carbon emissions associated with different fuels used to produce electricity and heat . .
What is the underlying software engine for the EPS website?
EPS software utilizes SIMPLE as the underlying software engine. It's accuracy was tested in the 2008 Energy Performance Score Pilot Study.
Why was SIMPLE chosen as the underlying software engine for the EPS website?
SIMPLE provides a high level of accuracy, while limiting the amount of time that is needed to be spent on data collection and data entry. This allows Energy Specialists additional time to provide more detailed upgrade recommendations, and generate scopes of work.
The Energy Efficiency Specialist recommended installing a tankless water heater and the energy savings are negative. Why?
If the water heater was changed from an electric tank then this is quite possible. There are, however, still dollar savings and carbon savings.
The Energy savings numbers listed for each measure on page 3 of the Energy Analysis Report don't match the total savings number that is listed on page 1, Why?
All of the energy related components in a home interact with each other, and because of this attributing accurate energy savings to one particular improvement can be difficult. The savings number listed on page one of the Energy Analysis Report represents what the savings would be if all of the recommended improvements were made. We did not want to misrepresent the energy savings associated with each energy improvement, so on page 3 each measure has a "marginal" savings number associated with it, that is, the amount of savings as if it were the last improvement made. This means that if fewer improvements are made than what is shown on the recommendation report the savings number associated with each improvement will actually be higher than what the report currently shows.
Why do duct sealing recommendations show such low savings numbers?
Duct sealing may show relatively low savings numbers because some of the heat lost through leaky ducts is regained into the house. The amount of heat regained depends on where the leaky ducts are located: if ducts are located in unconditioned space, the amount of heat regained into the house is less than if the ducts are located in conditioned space. In any case, although sealing ducts may not result in large energy savings, it should still be done because it improves indoor air quality.
Homeowner FAQ
What is the Energy Performance Score?
The Energy Performance Score (EPS) is a miles-per-gallon type rating for homes that represents a home's energy use and associated carbon emissions. It can also be accompanied by a report that recommends how the home can be improved to make it more energy efficient and comfortable.
What is the benefit of the Energy Performance Score?
Similar to how a consumer can compare the MPG rating of a vehicle when considering a purchase, the Energy Performance Score provides consumers information that allows them to compare the energy use and associated costs with living in one home as opposed to another.
How do I get an EPS for my home?
In Massachusetts, EPS is being piloted as part of Home MPG and Mass Save. If you live in a home in Springfield, Belchertown, East Longmeadow, Hampden, Longmeadow, Monson, Palmer, or Wilbraham, and you receive a no-cost home energy assessment through Mass Save, you will automatically get an EPS for your home. Multi-family homes will be added soon.
How are Energy Performance Scores calculated?
Energy Performance Scores are calculated based on the physical attributes of your home, the different types of equipment and appliances in your home, and your climate. The score is calculated independent of homeowner behavior, so the score provided shows what the energy use of the home would be with "average" occupants living in it.
How do I compare my EPS to my actual utility bills?
To compare your actual energy use to your home's Energy Performance Score you will need to convert all the fuel types used in the house (gas, oil, propane, etc.) to british thermal units (BTU) . This allows for us to aggregate different fuel types. The conversions for this are located on the back of the EPS Scorecard.
My actual utility bills are different than my EPS. Why is that?
Well, there are many reasons that actual use can be higher than an EPS. Because the EPS is calculated taking into account average occupancy for a home, higher actual use generally means one of two things: there are more occupants living in the house than is typical for a house that size, or the occupants living in the house are using more energy than is typical. If actual use is lower than an EPS, it is usually because there are less occupants living in the home than is typical for a house that size, or the occupants are using less energy than is typical. Using more or less energy than is typical can be caused by many things, including but not limited to, high use of television/video games/computers, very high or low thermostat settings, hot water use for laundry, or using a supplemental heat source.
Why do I need an EPS to see the energy use of a home that I am considering buying? Can't I just look at the previous homeowner's utility bills?
Looking at the previous homeowners utility bills would give you some idea of the energy use of the home, but it really tells you how much energy THEY used while living in the home, not how much energy You will use living in the home. If the previous homeowners have a drastically different lifestyle then you, then there bills can be drastically different from what yours will be. The EPS levels the playing field by displaying what the energy use in the home would be for the average occupants living there, similar to how a miles-per-gallon rating for your car tells you the mileage that an average driver would get while driving the car.
My login name and password are not working. What should I do?
Your login name and password are case sensitive. If you have entered them in the correct case (uppercase or lowercase) then select the "Forgot password?" button. An email with your password will be sent to you. If you still have an issue you may contact the EPS administrator.
I currently purchase renewable power from my utility. Shouldn't this be reflected as my Carbon Score?
While it is a great idea to purchase a renewable power option from your utility, it does not change the home's Carbon Score. This is reflected as a benchmark to show what your associated carbon emissions are if you do purchase renewable power, however, we have to assume that someone else moving into the home might not purchase this renewable power option and, therefore, the actual Carbon Score does not change.
What was made "average" for the purposes of calculating my estimated annual energy use?
Any occupant behavior was made average: thermostat settings, hot water use, hot water heater temperature settings, amount of plugged in miscellaneous electronic devices (televisions, lamps, toasters, etc...), cooking use, and clothes dryer use. Occupancy is also eliminated from the EPS score. Occupancy numbers for a home are based on the number of bedrooms in the home.
I figured out my annual energy usage and it doesn't match my EPS score. Why is that?
There are many reasons why your actual energy use might be different from your EPS score. Anything that you do differently from what is deemed average for your size home will make the difference larger. The two biggest factors are the number of occupants in the home (e.g. 2 people living in a 5 bedroom home would have a lower actual use than their home's EPS), and thermostat settings (e.g. setting the thermostat to 74 degrees in the winter will cause your actual energy use to be much higher than your home's EPS).
Does my EPS score reflect the amount of energy consumed on site, or does it account for source energy?
The Energy Score reflects the amount of energy used on-site(i.e. at the home), but the Carbon Score reflects source energy (i.e. energy produced at an off-site source for the home, such as a power plant). Source energy takes into account inherent inefficiencies associated with transmitting electricity to the home, as well as carbon emissions associated with different fuels used to produce electricity and heat .
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