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The following tools and resources have been useful to Department of Energy (DOE) programs and partners as they build and maintain their residential energy-efficiency programs.

Residential Energy Dispatch newsletter

The Residential Energy Dispatch Newsletter has been published since September 2018 as the information source from the Department of Energy’s Residential Building Integration programs, focused on trends and opportunities for residential energy-efficiency upgrades programs. To subscribe to the Residential Energy Dispatch, please email bbresidentialnetwork@ee.doe.gov.

Current Issue

Better Buildings Network View

The Better Buildings Network View was published from January 2014 – September 2018 as the official information source from the Residential Network. Residential Network news can now be found in the Residential Energy Dispatch.

Past Issues

Voluntary Member Initiative Toolkits

Evaluate and Learn As You Go to Strengthen Performance Toolkit

Make evaluations more nimble and adaptable by integrating learning so that programs can make adjustments more responsively, rapidly, and with greater overall program efficacy.

Community-Based Social Marketing Toolkit

Use community-based social marketing to apply resources effectively, increase participation rates, promote a greater understanding of the value of energy-efficient homes, and strengthen relationships with residents.

Training Toolkit

Identify training resources and opportunities to help staff, volunteers, and contractors enhance their understanding of building science; sales and marketing; residential energy-efficiency program offerings; and business development.

Social Media Toolkit

Determine the best social media platforms to engage potential home energy upgrade customers by building brand awareness and refocusing your marketing efforts to target their energy-efficiency needs.

Designing Incentives Toolkit

Design incentives that motivate potential customers to act by lowering the risk, decreasing the cost, or offering additional benefits of home energy upgrades.

Partnerships Toolkit

Understand what constitutes a partnership, establish the need for partnerships, identify potential partners methodically, conduct partnerships, evaluate them, and communicate their success.

Learn about upcoming voluntary initiatives and how your organization can get involved.

Tools

Solution Center

The Better Buildings Residential Program Solution Center  is a robust online collection of nearly 1,000 examples, strategies, and resources from Better Buildings Neighborhood Program partners, Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® Sponsors, and others. This one-stop shop helps residential energy upgrade program administrators and partners plan, implement, manage, and evaluate their programs more effectively through a series of handbooks containing step- by-step guidance and lessons learned.

The Solution Center provides:

  • Tips for success
  • Examples
  • Tools and templates
  • My Favorites tagging capabilities
  • Email updates for new content
  • Opportunities to see your materials featured

Learn more by reviewing a demonstration presentation and its accompanying slides and transcript. To ensure the Solution Center remains a valuable resource for programs and home performance professionals into the future, DOE invites users to explore the new tool and suggest additional content or materials for possible inclusion by emailing BBRPSolutionCenter@ee.doe.gov.

Cost-Effectiveness Tool (Version 2.0)

In April 2017, DOE’s Better Buildings Residential Program released a new, improved version 2.0 of a user-friendly tool for estimating the cost-effectiveness of a residential energy-efficiency program based on a program administrator’s inputs. Cost-effectiveness analysis compares the benefits (i.e., outputs or outcomes) associated with a program or a measure with the costs (i.e., resources expended) to produce them. Program cost-effectiveness is commonly used by public utility commissions to make decisions about funding programs or program approaches. Program designers, policy makers, utilities, architects, and engineers can use this tool to estimate the impact of different program changes on the cost-effectiveness of a residential energy-efficiency program. Following are the tool and its supporting documents:

ENERGY STAR Home Advisor

This online tool was designed to help Americans save money and energy by improving the energy efficiency of their homes through recommended, customized, and prioritized home improvement projects. The tool guides homeowners through a do-it-yourself energy assessment to create an ENERGY STAR home profile. Based on the newly created profile, the tool provides customized, prioritized recommendations for improvements. From these recommendations, users can create their own to-do lists of projects and update their home profiles over time as they make improvements. The home profiles can also be printed and used as a marketing advantage when homeowners sell their homes.

Image Libraries

The Better Buildings Residential Network has compiled a list of online databases that can provide your program with quality, high-resolution images to tell your energy-efficiency story. Many images can be used without attribution, while others require minimal attribution.

Publications

Innovative Community Energy-Savings Success Stories

The Georgetown University Energy Prize (GUEP) challenged towns, cities, and counties nationwide to rethink their energy use and to implement creative strategies to increase efficiency. The initiative brought together local governments, residents, nonprofit organizations, and utilities to demonstrate success in reducing energy consumption between 2014 and 2016.

Health and Home Performance Report

Evidence in a new, groundbreaking DOE report, Home Rx: The Health Benefits of Home Performance, shows that home performance upgrades can improve the quality of a home’s indoor environment by reducing the prevalence of harmful indoor air pollutants and contaminants. This paper is just one part of DOE’s broader Health and Home Performance Initiative, which plans to engage stakeholders and develop a roadmap to facilitate the industry’s incorporation of health benefits into its work.

Peer Exchange Call Summaries

Catch up on past Peer Exchange Calls by accessing about 250 call summaries on the following topics:

  • Market Position and Business Model
  • Program Design and Customer Experience
  • Evaluation and Data Collection
  • Marketing and Outreach
  • Financing
  • Contractor Engagement and Workforce Development
  • General

Lessons Learned: Peer Exchange Calls

The Residential Network hosts a series of Peer Exchange Calls for members to discuss similar needs and challenges, and to collectively identify effective strategies and useful resources. Following are samples of lessons learned shared by members during various Peer Exchange Calls:

Case Studies

Residential Network case studies feature members to fulfill our mission to share best practices and learn from one another to increase the number of homes that are energy efficient. Following is a series of Residential Network member interviews exploring successful strategies:

Residential Real Estate White Paper

The “Capturing Energy Efficiency in Residential Real Estate Transactions: Steps That Energy Efficiency Programs Can Take" white paper prepared by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory provides examples of programs around the United States that are successfully engaging the real estate community and overcoming barriers to valuing energy efficiency in the home resale process. The research draws on literature and interviews with efficiency program staff and real estate professionals. Watch the white paper webcast to learn more.

State Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program Reports

With funding provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, DOE developed the State Energy Efficiency Appliance Rebate Program (SEEARP) to spur economic activity and invest in long-term energy savings by helping consumers replace older, inefficient appliances with new, efficient models. SEEARP provided almost $300 million to the 56 U.S. states and territories to support state-level consumer rebate programs for efficient appliances from December 1, 2009 to February 17, 2012. The successes and challenges of SEEARP provide valuable lessons for designing and running a consumer-focused appliance rebate program. Two reports provide results and program design lessons.

  • Program Design Lessons Learned (Volume 1) draws on the insights DOE gathered from its more than four years of administering SEEARP and analyzing the nearly 1.8 million rebates and the associated reporting from the 56 state and territory programs.
  • Program Results (Volume 2) includes program impacts reports summarizing individual state and overall results.

In addition, the SEEARP reports database includes final rebate facts sheets, rebate summary fact sheets, and report data files.

Guide for Program Benchmarking

DOE developed a Guide for Benchmarking Residential Energy Efficiency Program Progress With Examples to make program progress benchmarking more common among residential energy efficiency programs. Work on the guide started more than a year ago with input from Residential Network members and Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® Sponsors. The guide is intended to help residential program managers:

  • Identify metrics that measure their goals
  • Develop a program benchmarking plan to identify their program's strengths and weaknesses
  • Measure progress for years to come by establishing a baseline of performance
  • Gain insights from comparing to peers
  • Communicate success with key stakeholders

Additional Resources

DOE Residential Programs

  • Better Buildings Neighborhood Program
    More than 40 Better Buildings Neighborhood Program partners launched local programs to test a wide range of program delivery business models in their communities. These partners helped more than 100,000 households and businesses save energy, live more comfortably, and reduce their utility bills through energy upgrades between summer 2010 and December 2013.
  • Home Energy Score
    Similar to a vehicle's mile-per-gallon rating, the Home Energy Score allows homeowners to compare the energy performance of their homes to other homes nationwide. It also provides homeowners with suggestions for improving their homes' efficiency.
  • Home Performance with ENERGY STAR (HPwES)
    Offering whole-house solutions to high energy bills and homes with comfort problems, HPwES is managed by a local sponsor that recruits home improvement contractors who are qualified to perform comprehensive home assessments.
  • Weatherization and Intergovernmental Programs Office
    This office strategically coordinates with state, local, tribal, and K-12 school district leaders to accelerate the adoption of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and best practices. These partnerships help American communities, businesses, and industries overcome barriers to a viable clean energy economy.