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MEEA Releases Residential Energy Efficiency Research

MEEA recently released a publication titled, “Evaluation of Missed Energy Saving Opportunity Based on Illinois Home Performance Program Field Data: Homeowner Selected Upgrades vs. Cost-Optimized Solutions.”  This research was conducted in partnership with the Department of Energy’s Building America program, which MEEA participates in as a team member of the cold-climate focused Partnership for Advanced Residential Retrofit. The study evaluates what is actually being done, within specific housing types, when homeowners choose to participate in the Illinois Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® (IHP) program, sponsored by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and administered by MEEA.

This publication expands on previous research and compares the measure packages installed during the first 800 IHP retrofits to the measure packages recommended as cost-optimal by Building Energy Optimization™ (BEopt) modeling software. The cost-optimal measure packages were identified in previous research for fifteen Chicagoland single family housing archetypes, called housing groups.

In this study, 800 IHP homes have been matched to one of these fifteen housing groups. The typically-installed measures for each housing group have been modeled using BEopt to estimate energy savings. For most housing groups, the differences between recommended and actually-installed measure packages are substantial. By comparing actual IHP retrofit measures to BEopt-recommended cost-optimal measures, missed savings opportunities are identified in some housing groups; in addition, valuable information is obtained regarding housing groups where IHP achieves greater savings than BEopt-modeled, cost-optimal recommendations.

Overall, the study finds not only that for some housing groups, the average IHP retrofit results in more energy savings than would result from cost-optimal, BEopt-recommended measure packages, but also that linking home categorization to standardized retrofit measure packages provides an opportunity to streamline the process for single family home energy retrofits and maximize both energy savings and cost-effectiveness.

This research is valuable to MEEA’s programs team because it represents an instance where primary data has been extracted from the program and analyzed to provide valuable feedback. To read the full report, please click here.