Guest post from our friends at the Center for Energy and Environment:
There is a new, one of a kind home energy certificate is available to Minnesota homeowners. Energy Fit HomesSM is a certificate program that provides a rating of basic energy efficiency in existing homes. It is focused on energy efficient upgrades that are cost effective to the homeowner, making it the only certificate of its kind.
To start the certification process all homes must receive a home energy assessment. Metro area residents can schedule a home assessment through program administrations such as the Center for Energy and Environment and the Neighborhood Energy Connection. At the home assessment, homes receive an Energy Fitness Score, which evaluates the performance and efficiency of five main areas of the home: heating system, insulation and air sealing, ventilation and combustion safety, windows, and lighting, all of which improve comfort and save energy. The score rates each home from 0 to 100, the higher the score, the more energy efficient the home. A home with a score above 95 qualifies for the Energy Fit Homes certificate. Homes that receive a score of 95 or below will also receive a report that details the upgrades necessary to improve the total score and qualify for Energy Fit Homes.
Minneapolis resident Meleah Housenecht went through the process of getting her home certified with Energy Fit Homes in 2014. Maleah and her husband recently purchased their house and while they knew the previous owners had made some energy improvements, they were interested in learning for themselves how their house was functioning. They were especially interested in getting the opinion of a trusted, independent source and upon recommendations from neighbors they scheduled an assessment with the Center for Energy and Environment. Meleah was excited to learn that their home scored a 99, qualifying it for the Energy Fit Homes certificate.
Energy Fit Homes provides a way to distinguish houses that have made investments in energy efficiency. For Meleah and her family this was an excellent opportunity, especially since they do not plan to stay in their current home forever. In her words:
“The Energy Fit Homes certification will be a great asset when we are ready to sell our house. Many of the upgrades the previous owners had made to the house were hidden from us when we were deciding to buy. Now, with all of the energy efficiency information readily available in one compact document, it will be easier to highlight some of the great benefits.”
The home assessment provided Meleah a great opportunity to learn about the energy performance of her home and she sees Energy Fit Homes as a great, new benefit to homeowners. “It was nice to get official recognition for the work that’s been completed. I now recommend the program to all of my neighbors.”
Over 180 homes have current received an energy Fit Homes Certification in Minnesota. The certification is designed to be used across Minnesota and is looking to scale up assessment opportunities outside the metro area in 2016. Visit mnenergyfit.org to learn more about Energy Fit Homes and how to get your home certified.