DOE ‘Translator’ Aims to Make Energy Efficiency Clear to Everyone

October 1st, 2015 by Editor

The Department of Energy (DOE) wants to help door and window dealers spur consumer interest in energy-efficient products and high-performance homes. To achieve that, the agency launched a Building Science Translator earlier this year, which aims to “consistently reinforce the value message of high-performance homes based on the consumer experience rather than the engineering function of home systems,” according to the DOE’s website.

The Building Science Translator is built around the use of “power words” that translate “technical jargon into an improved consumer experience,” according to the DOE. “Power words” are phrases that make concepts related to energy efficiency much clearer to the consumer. For example, the term “sealed and flashed window” should be replaced by “premium installed window,” and “high-R window” should be replaced by “high-efficiency window.”

The strategy behind the translator is language that’s consistent, effective and inclusive, according to a document titles “Building America Building Science Translator,” which was released in February 2015.  For example, DOE now defines the term “high efficiency” as a minimum 15 percent above existing code or standard, and “ultra efficient” as a minimum 50 percent above existing codes or standards.

DOE developed the translator in collaboration with housing-industry representatives and building-science experts.

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