Energy Experts and Officials Discuss Proposed Residential Energy Scorecard in South Boston

Buildings account for 40% of the energy consumption in the U.S., residential buildings for 20%. To make home energy assessments accessible and encourage effective retrofits, Massachusetts’ Baker-Polito Administration recently announced their intention on becoming the first state in the nation to require residential energy scores, made available to potential home buyers by 2021. Last week, energy experts and state and city representatives weighed the potential impact of energy scorecards at “Driving Energy Efficiency Through Residential Scorecards”, a public roundtable discussion hosted by Fraunhofer CSE in its South Boston office.

The panel weighed the potential impact of residential energy scorecards in Massachusetts (from left to right): Samantha Caputo, NEEP; Ian Finlayson, Mass DOER; Bruce Mohl (Moderator), Editor of CommonWealth Magazine; Alison Brizius, Greenovate Boston, City of Boston; Hans Erhorn, Fraunhofer IBP. Photo: Susan Young Photography / Fraunhofer CSE

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The June 12th event kicked off with a presentation by Hans Erhorn of the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP (Fraunhofer IBP) in Stuttgart, Germany, who delivered keynote remarks. Erhorn focused on Germany’s experience in the 1980s when energy scorecards were first considered as tools to improve home energy efficiencies and promote effective retrofits. Over time, Germany’s adoption of scorecards increased as building energy assessments were more closely linked to improved efficiency standards. Erhorn emphasized that collaboration among policymakers, scientists, and building practitioners was crucial in determining and updating effective building energy assessment parameters, as well as developing widely accepted scorecard criteria.

After Erhorn’s technical presentation, Fraunhofer CSE Executive Director Christian Hoepfner introduced panelists who were on hand to discuss scorecard legislation recently filed by the administration of Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karen Polito. That proposed bill calls for home sellers to provide scorecards to potential homebuyers for any single-family to 4-unit residence.

Bruce Mohl, editor of CommonWealth Magazine, moderated the panel discussion, which focused on challenges and concerns of residential efficiency rankings at the city and state levels. The panelists included:

  • Alison Brizius, Director of Climate and Environmental Planning at the City of Boston
  • Hans Erhorn, Head of Department of Energy Efficiency and Indoor Climate, Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics (Fraunhofer IBP), Stuttgart, Germany
  • Ian Finlayson, Deputy Director, Energy Efficiency Division of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources
  • Samantha Caputo, Policy and Research Associate, Public Policy Outreach and HELIX project at Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP)

Mr. Erhorn and the panelists brought a wide range of perspectives and ideas that our team looks forward to following if this initiative gets implemented. Fraunhofer CSE is pleased that the Grid Modernization Series continues to be a place for thought leaders and industry experts to learn about and discuss issues that will be affecting renewable energy for years to come.

Fraunhofer CSE will host the next Grid Modernization in Massachusetts Roundtable this fall.

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The Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems (CSE) is an applied research and development laboratory dedicated to building tomorrow’s energy future today.
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