Builders Challenge – EnergySmart Home Scale (E-Scale)


The E-Scale is an easy-to-understand tool that helps homebuyers and homeowners make smart energy decisions when purchasing, renting, or updating a home. It is designed to provide clear, objective answers to basic questions:

  • Will this home help me save money on energy bills?
  • How many “miles per gallon” does this home get?
  • How does it compare to a typical new home?
  • How close is it to the “ultimate” – a Net-Zero Energy Home?

Illustration showing the EnergySmart Home Scale, which is a horizontal bar with a rating of 150 on the left to represent poor energy performance, and 0 on the right to represent best energy performance. The color fades from red on the left to orange to yellow to green on the right. Several typical ratings are shown along the scale, with a typical existing home at 130 in the red, a typical new home at 100 in orange, a Builders Challenge home at 70 or lower in yellow, and a net zero energy home at 0 in green. Spaces are included for users to record the estimated annual energy cost and the estimated annual energy use. An example labeled 'Your Home' is shown to have a rating of 65. The DOE and Building America logos are displayed on the bottom of the graphic.

A 70 on the E-Scale indicates that a home is approximately 30% more energy efficient than a typical new home built to code. A 60 on the E-Scale would be 40% more energy efficient. The ultimate goal is to get to 0 – a Net-Zero Energy Home.

Builders may place the E-Scale on or near the home’s electric panel to show potential homeowners the energy performance achieved by that particular home or model. Participating builders and partner organizations can also:

  • Place their logo on the E-Scale label with program or product names
  • Augment the rating with estimates of annual energy cost savings – which may help homebuyers get better mortgage terms
  • Include estimates of the carbon footprint associated with the energy rating

The E-Scale is based on the well established Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index, developed by RESNET, the Residential Energy Services Network. The energy rating for the home will be conducted by RESNET-certified energy raters for the performance pathway. RESNET has an established system for quality assurance for raters as well as providers (who oversee the raters). For more information, see the National Home Energy Rating Standards. This is the same system that underlies the Energy Star homes program. The Builders Challenge will also require third-party verification of Builders Challenge Quality Criteria.


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