Berkeley Lab scientists Evan Mills and Rich Brown developed the Home Energy Saver (hes.lbl.gov or HomeEnergySaver.lbl.gov), a free online tool that helps consumers identify the best, most cost-effective ways to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their homes. A powerful building energy simulation program is at the core of HES, providing each user with a customized home energy profile and recommendations for home improvements that can be readily made. The Web-based interface makes it easy for millions of potential users without any special knowledge of home energy technologies and retrofitting to get energy use and savings estimates tailored to their home, climate, and lifestyle.
The Berkeley Lab technology was licensed by award co-nominee Microsoft in 2009 for its online application Hohm, www.microsoft-hohm.com. Both tools feature an advanced, easy-to-use graphical interface that allows the user to customize inputs to a significant degree. HES and Hohm quickly provide users with a set of efficiency recommendations based on the answers to only 15 questions.
As of January 2010, Home Energy Saver had more than 6 million unique visitors. About one-third of users report making energy-efficient improvements to their homes based on its recommendations. Although other energy calculators are available on the Internet, Home Energy Saver is the only tool to offer such a high degree of customization and to use actual nationwide electricity tariffs. Home Energy Saver is supported by the DOE's Building Technologies Program in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.