Fraunhofer CSE Hosts Expert Discussion on Residential Energy Scorecards

13 Jun 2018

The Fraunhofer USA Center for Sustainable Energy Systems CSE (Fraunhofer CSE) hosted a public discussion on “Grid Modernization in Massachusetts: Driving Energy Efficiency through Residential Scorecards” addressing recently filed legislation requiring house sellers to provide home energy scorecards to prospective buyers. The event featured a keynote by Hans Erhorn of the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics (Fraunhofer IBP) in Stuttgart, Germany, who is an acting consultant to the German government and supported the introduction of German ‘energy performance certificates’ in 2007. Following his remarks was a panel discussion with energy scorecard authorities moderated by Bruce Mohl, editor of CommonWealthMagazine.

Massachusetts’ Baker-Polito Administration recently announced their intention on becoming the first state in the nation to require residential energy scores. The “scorecards” would be made available to potential homebuyers for any 1 to 4-unit homes publicly listed for sale. Talking points of the event included major lessons from German energy scorecards that may be applied to Massachusetts and challenges and concerns of implementing residential energy scorecards.

“With significant changes coming to Massachusetts due to the proposed residential energy scorecard requirement, the opportunity to hear about Mr. Erhorn’s unique experience implementing a similar initiative in Germany couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Fraunhofer CSE Executive Director Christian Hoepfner. “Our speaker and panelists brought a wide range of perspectives and ideas that we look forward to following as this initiative gets implemented. Fraunhofer CSE is pleased that our 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.”

Keynote speaker Hans Erhorn has been an acting energy consultant to the German government for more than 30 years and is chair of the coordinating panel for standardization on energy efficiency in buildings in Germany as well as a national representative and member in different ISO and CEN standardization committees. He works with the EU’s Concerted Action Initiative to support the 29 European member countries with the implementation of the amended Energy Performance of Building Directive (EPBD) which also includes the next generation of Energy Performance Certificates (Cards) for residential and commercial buildings.

“When it comes to setting and supporting sustainable trends in society, it is a challenge and a responsibility for policymakers to create the appropriate framework for change. I think that the energy scorecard can be an excellent instrument to increase home energy assessments and effective retrofits,” Mr. Erhorn stated. “However, in order for energy scorecards to be a credible document and an effective tool, building energy assessments have to be based on solid efficiency standards, which may change over time. It is essential that policymakers, scientists, and building practitioners work together to determine and keep updating building energy assessment parameters, and also develop criteria for a ‘successful’ scorecard legislation, i.e. decreased energy consumption in residential buildings.”

The keynote was followed by a roundtable discussion on scorecards’ impact on energy efficiency and the challenges and concerns of home energy scorecards at the city and state levels in the United States. 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)

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

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