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Engineering estimates of savings resulting from installation of energy conservation measures in homes are often greater than the savings actually realized. A brief review of prior studies of realization rates prefaces this study of rates from an engineering audit tool, NEAT, developed for the Department of Energy's Low-Income Weatherization Assistance Program and used in a New York state utility's low-income program. Estimates of metered and predicted savings are compared for 49 homes taken from a database of homes that participated in the first year of the utility's program. Average realization rates ranging from 57% to 69% result, depending on the data quality. Detailed examinations of two houses using an alternative engineering method, the DOE-2 computer program (considered an industry standard), seem to indicate that the low realization rates mainly result from factors other than inaccuracies in the audit's internal algorithms. Causes of the low realization rates are examined, showing that the strongest single factor linked to the low rates in this study is the use of secondary heating fuels that supplement the primary heating fuel. This study, like other similar studies, concludes that engineering estimates are valuable tools in determining ranked lists of cost-effective weatherization measures, but they may not be accurate substitutes for measured results in evaluating program performance.

AUTHOR: Linda G. Berry, Michael B. Gettings
CITATION: Thermal Performance of the Exterior Envelopes of Buildings VII
KEYWORDS: December, Florida, 1998
YEAR: 1998