News Analysis

Residential Energy Guarantee Programs

guaranteed that every one of his homes would have annual heating costs less than $100. “My competitors just tore us up over this, claiming it must be bogus because it just could not be done,” says Bigelow. “I even bumped it up to $200 [per year] in the second year just to make it more believable.” Today, there are a host of residential energy guarantee programs offered by builders, utilities, energy management companies, and building product manufacturers (see sampling in table on page 5). What does an energy guarantee really mean and how do the various programs compare?

The beauty of an energy guarantee is that it is truly performance-based, and it encourages—if not outright requires—a systems approach. There can be no weak link in the chain of subcontractors and service providers or the elements of the envelope and conditioning system; homeowner utility bills just don’t lie. The rigor of the guarantees can vary, but word will certainly get around among homeowners if their guarantee is for energy costs not meaningfully different than the energy bills of neighbors lacking the guarantee.

Published October 1, 2001

(2001, October 1). Residential Energy Guarantee Programs. Retrieved from