Homeowner Frequently Asked Questions

Homes that perform with ENERGY STAR® can save their owners money, improve comfort, and contribute to better family health and safety—all while providing durability and maximum energy efficiency to the home. Below you’ll find Frequently Asked Questions from homeowners about the BGE Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program.

1. What is Home Performance with ENERGY STAR®?
2. What is a Home Performance Energy Audit?
3. Why should I consider upgrading my home’s energy efficiency over other types of home improvements?
4. How do I know whether I can participate?
5. How do I find a participating contractor?
6. What is the best way to select a contractor?
7. Should I accompany the contractor during the Home Performance Energy Audit?
8. What if the contractor visits my home, but I decide not to move forward with any improvements?
9. How long will it take for the improvements to be made to my home?
10. What does it cost to participate?
11. Why are health and safety testing important when conducting home energy improvements?
12. What are some cost-effective improvements that a contractor can make to a home?
13. What’s the difference between the Quick Home Energy Check-up and the Home Performance Energy Audit?
14. Do mobile or manufactured homes qualify for incentives in BGE’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® Program?
15. I am interested in having work completed in my mobile or manufactured home. Is there a specific contractor I should choose to complete the home performance work on this type of structure?
16. I am a potential home buyer and would like to have an energy audit performed on the home prior to purchasing, can this be covered by the $100 audit program?
17. I am a seller and would like to have the comprehensive home energy audit performed on my home, but may not move forward with improvements. Would a potential buyer be able to use the original audit information if they should choose to move forward with any future improvements?

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1. What is Home Performance with ENERGY STAR®?

Created by the federal government, the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program uses a whole-house approach to make a home more energy-efficient, thus lowering its energy consumption. Each participating contractor has staff certified by the Building Performance Institute (BPI). Only contractors with BPI certified staff can participate in the Program. These specially trained professionals use advanced diagnostic equipment to test the home and identify optimal energy efficiency improvements.

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2. What is a Home Performance Energy Audit?

The Home Performance Energy Audit is the first step toward improving your home’s energy efficiency and reducing energy bills. During this comprehensive energy audit, the BPI certified contractor tests and evaluates the home using advanced diagnostic equipment and building science principles to determine which areas would benefit from energy efficiency and health and safety-related improvements. Features to be tested include but are not limited to heating and cooling equipment, insulation levels, air infiltration, appliances and lighting. Included in the audit fee, the contractor will install a number of energy saving features, such as light emitting diode (LED) bulbs, faucet aerators, smart power strips, and efficient-flow showerheads. If the home is more than 3,000 square feet or has more than one combustion appliance zone, additional fees may apply at the discretion of the contractor you select.

Specifically, the contractor tests for air-leakage using a blower door; may identify primary leakage areas with an infrared scan; conducts a series of combustion-related tests; and looks for opportunities to improve the home’s insulation, heating and cooling system, windows, appliances, and lighting. The contractor will then explain to you what improvements can be made, and what they will cost.

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3. Why should I consider upgrading my home’s energy efficiency over other types of home improvements?

Energy efficiency upgrades will improve the comfort of your home while making sure the occupants are living in a safe environment—thereby protecting your most important investment, your home, and its treasured occupants, your family. As a result of the improvements, you will reduce your energy usage every month.

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4. How do I know whether I can participate?

To participate, the homeowner must be a residential BGE customer with a BGE account number for the home they want to have the audit and receive rebates for energy efficiency improvements. The offer is open to all BGE residential electric and/or gas customers regardless of their electric and/or gas supplier. Only BGE electric or natural gas distribution customers are eligible to participate. (You can, however, use any natural gas and/or electric supplier.) This offer is not valid for new construction, multifamily homes, or commercial properties.

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5. How do I find a participating contractor?

To evaluate your home and recommend energy efficiency improvements, there is a network of independent certified contractors who have been specially trained to use the most advanced, state-of-the-art equipment and their knowledge of building science. Contact one of them to get started.

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6. What’s the best way to select a contractor?

Contractors participating in this program have earned certification through the Building Performance Institute (BPI), a national resource for building science technology that sets standards for assessing and improving home energy efficiency. A BPI certified contractor is trained and skilled in building science technology. To qualify to participate in BGE’s program, contractors must also have agreed to BGE’s program participation rules. Click on the following link to Find a contractor.

BGE encourages customers to research and compare contractors, or ask for referrals. While BGE does not endorse any particular contractor, they have provided a listing of all participating contractors that have been approved for the program. As with anytime you hire a contractor, you will also want to ask for and check references, ensure that the contract for any work specifies the scope of work and includes all costs and specifies materials that will be used.

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7. Should I accompany the contractor during the Home Performance Energy Audit?

The Program strongly encourages you to accompany your contractor during the Home Performance Energy Audit and to ask questions and learn about other energy savings opportunities. Your participation will help you when discussing the audit findings, your contractor’s recommendations and how you can reduce energy use.

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8. What if the contractor visits my home but I choose not to move forward with any improvements?

Once your energy audit is complete and you receive the contractor’s recommendations, it is your decision whether to move forward with the improvements and sign a contract. Your only responsibility then is to pay the audit fee to your contractor at the time of the audit (Note that if your home is more than 3,000 square feet or has more than one combustion appliance zone, additional fees may apply at the discretion of the contractor you selected.) But remember, the recommended improvements can improve the energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and comfort of your home, while reducing your energy usage. Therefore, you and your family can greatly benefit from moving forward with the recommended improvements as soon as possible following your Home Performance Energy Audit.

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9. How long will it take for the improvements to be made to my home?

The improvements and the time to complete them will vary by participant and the type of energy efficiency improvement(s) you select. To complete the contracted improvements to your home, your contractor may have to visit your home on multiple days. At a minimum, BGE strongly recommends that you meet with the contractor at the beginning of each day before work begins, and at the end of the day to review progress and to help you better understand the impact the work will have on your home. Be aware that the normal routine of your household may be disrupted while the contractor performs the improvements.

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10. What does it cost to participate?

Your participating contractor will charge a fee for the Home Performance Energy Audit at the time of the audit. Additional fees may apply if your home is larger than 3,000 square feet, has more than one combustion system (excluding the oven) or is subject to specialty services from the contractor. You also will pay for the improvements you agree to as part of a contract. Those costs depend on your home (including size, age, etc.), the recommended improvements, and those you choose to install. Homeowners can receive cash incentives to help offset some of the costs of improvements.

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11. Why are health and safety testing important when conducting home energy improvements?

BPI-certified contractors perform critical combustion safety-related tests before and after performing energy improvements to the home. Inspecting and testing combustion appliances—such as heating equipment, ovens, and water heaters for proper performance and carbon monoxide emissions—helps ensure safe, efficient operation and prevent dangerous combustion gases from being introduced into the home. Such tests are critical when tightening up the home to make it more energy-efficient and comfortable.

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12. What are some cost-effective improvements that a contractor can make to my home?

Depending on the home, improvements may include sealing gaps, cracks, and other leaks that let outside air into a home; adding insulation; and sealing, insulating, or replacing air ducts that run through attics or crawlspaces. Improvements may also include repairing or replacing old or poorly functioning heating and cooling systems and appliances. Installing ENERGY STAR® certified lighting is another commonly performed, cost-effective improvement.

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13. What’s the difference between the Quick Home Energy Check-up and the Home Performance Energy Audit?

Click for details

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14. Do mobile or manufactured homes qualify for incentives in BGE’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® Program?

Yes, mobile or manufactured homes are eligible for incentives through the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program, provided they meet the eligibility requirements of the Program. Customers applying for HPwES rebates must have a central air conditioner, heat pump, or other primary electric heating system and receive electricity service from BGE, or a gas furnace or gas boiler and receive gas service from BGE.

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15. I am interested in having work completed in my mobile or manufactured home. Is there a specific contractor I should choose to complete the home performance work on this type of structure?

All participating contractors are BPI Building Analyst and Envelope certified. However, it is highly recommended that you discuss the contractor’s experience to complete weatherization work on your home type.

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16. I am a potential home buyer and would like to have an energy audit performed on the home prior to purchasing, can this be covered by the $100 audit program?

The Home Performance Energy Audit must be paid for and performed under the current BGE account holder’s address. As a potential buyer, you may be able to work with the seller to have the audit performed under their existing account information. To use the sellers existing audit to receive incentives for any work completed the seller must provide you with a copy of the audit. The audit findings are valid for one year from the date of the original audit.

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17. I am a seller and would like to have the comprehensive home energy audit performed on my home, but may not move forward with improvements. Would a potential buyer be able to use the original audit information if they should choose to move forward with any future improvements?

Yes, in this case you would need to provide the buyer with the audit report for their records. However, the audit findings are valid for one year from the date of original audit. If the buyer does not move forward with improvements within one year, a new audit must be completed prior to implementing any improvements through the program.

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