New Green Home Calculator Reveals: “Is My Home Greener Than My Neighbors’?”
New online tool shows California homeowners how their energy and water scores compare and how to boost their savings
Dec. 17, 2013
A new online tool developed by the nonprofit Build It Green helps California homeowners explore the question, “Is my home greener than my neighbors’ homes?” The quick-and-easy Green Home Calculator at GreenPointRated.com/Calculator gives users a green home score that reveals answers to four intriguing questions:
How does your home's energy and water efficiency compare to similar homes?
Are your utility bills lower or higher than your neighbors?
What are a few simple home improvements that could save you money?
How can you reduce your home's impact on climate change?
“Individuals who take action to save energy and reduce their carbon footprint play an important role in California’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gases,” said Mary D. Nichols, Chairman of the California Air Resources Board (ARB), which funded the calculator’s development. “The Green Home Calculator is an easy-to-use online tool that can help homeowners learn how to make their homes more energy efficient, supporting California’s efforts to fight climate change and secure a clean energy future.”
“Our innovative tool is based on the understanding that a more effective way to engage people in going green is to pique their curiosity and show them how they compare to others,” said Catherine Merschel, Executive Director of Build It Green. “The calculator helps people make clearer sense of energy and water information—and it’s a lot of fun to play with.”
Here’s how it works: The calculator walks users through a series of short questions to estimate energy and water usage–the square footage of their home, what type of water heater they have, etc.—and adjusts their green score in real time to show the benefits or disadvantages of various home features. For example, a score of “40 percent more green than your neighbors” will drop when you factor in a second refrigerator, but improve if water-efficient bathroom fixtures have recently been installed.
A final score includes the home’s current projected energy use, water use, and cost savings over 30 years compared to homes of the same size and age located in the same ZIP code. Users also get suggested green improvements that can help improve their green score and save more money.
Homeowners can find the Green Home Calculator on the GreenPoint Rated website, which is full of green home tips, products, and offers the most trusted green home certification in California. It will also be featured on CoolCalifornia.org as a key resource to help homeowners across the state save energy and lower their GHG emissions. In California, the residential sector is responsible for 14 percent* of GHG emissions. Empowering homeowners to become more energy efficient is a key strategy to help the state meet its AB 32 goal to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
Build It Green led the development of this tool in collaboration with Alameda County’s StopWaste and UC Berkeley’s Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL), which developed the underlying data. ARB also funded a research effort completed by UC Berkeley, Build It Green and Stopwaste that paved the way for the calculator’s more accurate and robust accounting of energy use and GHG emissions reductions associated with green homes.
“California’s urban infrastructure is already the most energy-efficient in the nation, but it still needs to be greatly improved to meet the state’s 2020 to 2050 greenhouse gas reduction targets,” said Dan Kammen, UC Berkeley distinguished professor of energy and director of the UC Berkeley component of the project. “The Green Home Calculator and GreenPoint Rated program show homeowners just what is needed to make their homes energy, carbon and resource-friendly.”
*This includes indirect emissions from electricity generation associated with the sector.