Secondary Author(s)

Goldstein, David; Tracey, Dick; Holtz, Michael; Judkoff, Ron; Tait, Jim

Report Number




This paper provides much of the historical background surrounding the contentious development of a national, uniform rating method for rating the energy-efficiency of homes. A full derivation of the most recently adopted rating method, the Normalized Modified Loads Method, is provided in detail and the issues and events leading up to the development of each of the succeeding methods are described.

Ever since the inclusion of Home Energy Rating Systems in the 1992 Energy Policy Act, the most contentious issue associated with them has been the development of a uniform rating method. To date, four succeeding methods have been proposed: 1) the "Original" Method, 2) the Equipment Adjustment Factor Method, 3) the Modified Loads Method, and 4) the Normalized Modified Loads Method. Since the beginning, the process of reaching a national consensus on an acceptable rating method has been plagued by the competing market interests of the electric and gas industry. The effort to find a solution that is equitable and "fuel neutral" has proven to be a quest not unlike that for the holy grail.

The national discussion that has ensued from this effort has worked to clarify, and in some cases resolve, many of the issues involving the building energy efficiency marketplace, national building codes and appliance standards, and energy and environmental policy. It has led to a fuller appreciation of the complexity of building energy efficiency, its varied definitions and meanings, and to the adoption for the first time by a national association of governmental officials, a set of uniform technical guidelines for rating the energy efficiency of homes.

Date Published




Rights Statement

In Copyright