This week, I got a letter in the mail from Columbia Gas of Ohio with a very colorful chart which immediately caught my attention. It showed my home’s natural gas usage vs. similar homes in the area, as well as compared to efficient similar homes. The similar homes are defined as 100 nearby homes that are similar to mine, and the efficient similar homes are defined as the top 20 percent of similar homes. My house used 53 percent more natural gas than similar homes and 94 percent more gas than the efficient similar homes.

On the reverse side, the letter outlined three possible courses of action – the Quick Fix, the Smart Purchase and the Great Investment. The Quick Fix was to open shades in the winter, especially on the south-facing windows. The Smart Purchase involved obtaining a programmable thermostat to turn down the heat when I’m away. The Great Investment really caught my eye – a Home Energy Audit. Columbia Gas can send a certified energy expert to my home to inspect for improvement opportunities and make recommendations for the best actions to save the most energy. Clicking on the link for the in-home energy audit, I found that the fee is only $50 and includes a programmable thermostat as well as an energy-efficient shower head, either one of which could cost that much alone!

The same day, I read the DWM article “More States Are Adopting this New Energy Rating System,” about the new energy rating system that is sweeping the nation, the HERS program or Home Energy Rating System. It’s a much more inclusive rating system than the one I received from Columbia Gas, which seems to focus primarily on natural gas usage.

The RESNET program mentioned in the DWM article involves the services of a certified RESNET inspector who evaluates your home and assigns it a HERS INDEX SCORE, which is very easy to understand. The evaluation compares the overall energy efficiency of your home to a standard new home, which is assigned a score of 100. Therefore, if your home scores a HERS INDEX of 70, then it is 30 percent more energy efficient than the standard home. Likewise, if your home scores a 130, then it is 30 percent less efficient. The inspector then recommends various improvements which could affect the HERS INDEX, thereby improving the overall energy efficiency of your home. Note—this recommendation could include the installation of new, more energy-efficient doors and windows.

As it increases in popularity across the nation, this HERS program, coupled with the RESNET Program, has the potential of significantly increasing awareness at the consumer level regarding the energy-efficiency impact of doors and windows. I visited the RESNET website and it guides you to Certified Home Energy Auditors in your area. It’s also set up to help you locate qualified contractors to perform the recommended modifications. Check it out.

A search for “qualified” window and door contractors in Ohio turned up this result: “Unfortunately, there were no immediate search results for any contractors offering this service in your area. Please fill out the form below and submit it to us, so that we can carry out a more detailed search for you. Thank you.”

Our industry has spent millions of dollars developing a rating system for doors and windows. Yet, here is a program that pushes people out the door in search of more energy-efficient doors and windows, and not one window company in Ohio shows up on the list as a recommended source? This spells OPPORTUNITY to me. The NFRC rating and labeling system is the means of comparing various doors and windows for relative energy efficiency. It really helps consumers decide on the best product for their application.

On the other hand, the RESNET program has the power to really stir the pot. It can act as a catalyst to get consumers to act. It has the power to significantly influence the demand for more energy-efficient door and window products. Note to door and window  marketing departments – this program is definitely worth looking into!

 

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