How Much Energy Do You Use? Microsoft Hohm Will Tell You

by Joe Marhamati


Utility costs aren’t usually on a homebuyer’s checklist, not only because metrics like square footage are a more popular way to justify which home to buy, but also because calculating utility costs of select properties has not been an option.

Enter Microsoft Hohm.

Microsoft Hohm is a free tool that calculates a property’s estimated energy efficiency based on its size and location. The goal is to help homeowners better understand their energy usage, and what they can do to manage their utility bills, as well as help those in the market for a new home compare the energy profiles of different properties.

Registered users of Hohm can enter a property address and see basic information about the size of a home, the sources of energy used, estimated annual energy usage and costs, potential savings, and a Hohm Score which provides a metric for rating the overall energy efficiency of the property. The scores can range from 0 to 100, the closer to 100 the more energy efficient your home. (The national average is 61.) Hohm also allows users to enter their power and gas providers, which the application will then pull monthly energy usage information from to, among other things, analyze how patterns compare to others in your area.

Profile of home in DC with a Hohm Score of 67

Along with a score, Hohm gives some standard suggestions for improving efficiency, such as using CFL light bulbs and turning the temperature down on your water heater, as well as other information on savings in the form of federal grants, tax credits, and rebates for efficient appliances. All these recommendations are tailored to the home that is being analyzed. Lastly, a Hohm Energy Report is produced, summarizing potential savings, the energy costs and breakdowns, savings recommendations, and further details on how to advance energy efficiency at the location.

The most powerful aspect of Hohm lies in its ability to compare energy profiles across properties. For prospective buyers interested in crunching the numbers on homes that they find equally appealing, all things considered, Hohm may reveal some fairly significant differences in the estimated energy costs. For instance, a property with a Hohm score of 51 can cost upwards of five times more in estimated annual energy costs than one with a score of 81. These differences may be the result of things that one might otherwise overlook with a walk-through and standard due diligence, such as the home-specific sources of energy, the energy costs of the local utility, and the relative size of the properties.

The one downside of Hohm is that, at least so far, it does not include energy-efficient scores for a number of condos and coops in the District. We imagine that Microsoft will not let that situation last very long.

See other articles related to: microsoft hohm, energy efficient

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/how_much_energy_do_you_use_microsoft_hohm_will_tell_you/2141


  1. Jeanne said at 11:26 am on Monday June 7, 2010:

    Very useful, but it does seem that condos are not measured. I have tried mine and my friend’s.

  1. Diane said at 7:25 pm on Monday June 7, 2010:

    Interesting concept but the information is not accurate and therefore of little value for comparing houses.  My home, in Old Town Alexandria, showed a rating of 51—below average for homes of the same age and size.  Once I edited the basic profile my score jumped to 67 because they had the wrong information for all of my heating and cooling systems. I completed the Advanced profile and my score went up to 71.

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