The Home Energy Saver™ (HES) empowers homeowners and renters to save money, live better, and help the earth by reducing energy use in their homes. HES recommends energy-saving upgrades that are appropriate to the home and make sense for the home's climate and local energy prices. The money invested in these upgrades commonly earns "interest" in the form of energy bill savings, at an annual rate of 20% or more (see examples). HES also estimates the home's carbon footprint and shows how much it can be reduced. For professional users, we also offer HESpro and teachers and students can check out Energized Learning.
The upgrades recommended by HES offer other benefits as well. Depending on the type of improvement made, the home can achieve better comfort (warmer in winter, cooler in summer), fewer drafts, lower maintenance costs, and improved security and fire safety—all of which improve life and increase the home's value.
HES computes a home's energy use on-line in a matter of seconds based on models and data developed at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. All end uses (heating, cooling, water heating, major appliances, small appliances, and lighting) are included. HES generates a list of energy-saving upgrade recommendations for the user's consideration. HES is not a "black box"—we extensively document all methodologies and assumptions.
Users begin their exploration on the START page by simply entering their zip code to receive instant initial estimates for typical and efficient homes in their area.
By providing more information about their home through the DESCRIBE forms, users receive increasingly customized results along with itemized energy-saving upgrade recommendations. For example, by entering the number and age of the major appliances, users can estimate their energy consumption based on historic sales-weighted efficiency data. A very detailed module is also included to estimate energy consumption for lighting and dozens of miscellaneous gas and electric appliances, with default values based on data compiled by energy researchers.
Results appear on the COMPARE page, where users can see their existing home's current energy profile compared to that with the recommended package of energy saving upgrades. Lots of "drill-down" reports are available for more detail.
The UPGRADES pages provide a tailored list of recommendations—ranked by payback time. Users can vary the energy efficiency assumptions in many cases, as well as the upgrade costs and then recalculate the results. The results can be viewed on line or via a customizable printable report that includes upgrade descriptions and other details, and include links to additional information.
In addition to providing recommendations, the Home Energy Saver's LEARN module connect users to an expanding array of "how-to" information resources across the Internet. These modules offer a host of links to practical information, ranging from lists of specific efficient products ... to tips about selecting a good contractor ... to information on available rebates, tax credits, and other financial incentives. The site also features an extensive glossary and frequently-asked questions module.
The Home Energy Saver™ calculator was the first Internet-based tool for calculating energy use in residential buildings. About 1,000,000 people visit the HES site each year. Over 90% are homeowners and renters, but many third parties use the site as well. Traffic trends and other indicators of impact are summarized here.