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The Case for a Thermal Comfort Rating Metric

Spring 2017
A version of this article appears in the Spring 2017 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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February 14, 2017
Energy efficiency has been a driving force in the home-building industry for decades. In recent years, the industry has increasingly adopted rating methods to measure a home’s energy efficiency. RESNET has produced the HERS Index, and DOE has produced the Home Energy Score (HES). Both systems have demonstrated value as user-friendly metrics to predict and assess the energy performance of new and existing homes. In today’s market, stakeholders are also recognizing that home performance extends beyond energy efficiency, and are seeking new ways to assess that performance. For example, DOE is teaming with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to develop a metric for indoor air quality performance. Several groups, including RESNET, are also focused on implementing a residential water efficiency rating. As ways to broaden residential performance ratings gain momentum, there is room for a metric that rates a home’s ability to deliver thermal comfort. After all, a home is expected to be comfortable, and heating, cooling, and hot water are major drivers of both comfort and home energy use.

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