By Christina Stowers, Communications Specialist in the Office of Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program at the U.S. Department of Energy

When I say “sustainability at home,” you may already know what that means. You’re probably imagining the steps you take in your home to reduce waste, such as turning off the lights when you leave a room, participating in a local recycling program, or taking a shorter shower. Or perhaps sustainability to you means taking home improvement steps to save as much energy—and money—as you can.

But did you know that sustainability at home starts before you move in? It starts with your home’s structure. Not to be confused with size, a home’s structure can be a small studio apartment in an urban city center, or an 8,000-sq-ft. country home on 1,000 acres.  Every home has the opportunity to implement energy-saving measures.

However, to make a home truly sustainable, you need to make energy upgrades in a way that maximizes savings and home comfort before you even unpack the first box. But how can you be certain that your house is as energy efficient and sustainable as your contractor or realtor claims it to be?

A collaboration between the Energy Department and the home energy performance industry recently established Guidelines for Home Energy Professionals.  The guidelines give you confidence about getting quality work done by helping you:

  • Compare competing bids based on credentials that are consistent nationwide
  • Set standardized expectations with home energy workers and contractors regarding energy audits and quality of work
  • Choose accredited and certified workers who are committed to quality home energy work
  • Save time and money on upgrades by using highly skilled professionals, resulting in improved service, fewer callbacks, and reduced installation errors.

This means that the energy upgrades you are investing in will result in a safer, more comfortable, and more efficient home. These guidelines are effectively raising the bar within the weatherization and home performance industry.

Once you’re ready to take the plunge and build a more sustainable home from the ground up, watch this video, then head over to financing energy-efficient homes to see if there are any local programs to help you get started!

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