Arkansas Economic Development Commission

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Arkansas to provide “MPG Ratings” for homes

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (March 2, 2015) - The Arkansas Economic Development Commission – Energy Office and Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs – Energy Division, will receive funding to support the advancement of energy efficiency and renewable energy practices in the residential sector.

The funding is part of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) 2014 Competitive State Energy Program (SEP) Special Projects. DOE will invest $225,000 to each Arkansas and Alabama to assist the two states in their efforts to provide home energy scores to the local residential market. Both states will develop a home energy score label that will provide a home’s projected energy cost and performance information in a uniform manner, similar to a miles-per-gallon (MPG) rating for automobiles. The home energy scoring labels will assist consumers, the construction industry, and real estate professionals by providing better information on the energy efficiency attributes of a home. Both states will develop their home energy scoring labels based on accepted national standards and the latest DOE energy technology.

“Through this award, the Arkansas Energy Office and the Alabama Energy Division, along with our respective project partners, will work collaboratively to help households, contractors, real estate professionals and other energy industry stakeholders understand the important economic impacts of energy efficiency in their everyday lives,” said Interim Director Mitchell Simpson for the Arkansas Energy Office. “We thank the U.S. Department of Energy for their continued support in the Southeast Region.”

A report prepared for Arkansas in 2011 by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) forecasts that investments in energy efficiency in Arkansas could create more than 11,000 jobs and generate $238 million in revenue for the state by 2025.

Both states will approach this voluntary initiative as a means to facilitate consumer awareness of the personal economic impact their level of energy consumption can have.  “We look forward to building on and expanding the prior work the state of Alabama has done to test home energy labels in several local markets,” said Elizabeth Grimes, a program manager with  the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. “We see a real benefit to this kind of information being made available on a voluntary basis to consumers, builders and real estate professionals.”

Project partners include Earth Advantage, Nexus Energy, and University of Arkansas, Office of Sustainability. The project proposal received written support from the City of North Little Rock Electric Department, City of Fayetteville, Arkansas Public Service Commission and Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA), amongst others. Said SEEA President Mandy Mahoney, “We are very pleased to see a project of this importance proceeding in Arkansas and Alabama. Empowering consumers with the knowledge to make smart choices in how they spend their money makes good business sense.”  

“With this project, Alabama and Arkansas are joining a growing list of states that are using home energy score labels to help consumers and real estate professionals better understand the benefits of an energy-efficient home. A home energy score label can help to communicate those benefits and make it easier to document the lower operating cost of an energy efficient home,” said Anthony Roy, Director, Policy and Partnerships for Earth Advantage. 

Additional DOE SEP Special Project information can be found at: http://energy.gov/eere/articles/energy-department-awards-5-million-spur-local-clean-energy-development-energy-savings.