Your Lightspark Home Energy Score is a tool that gives you a 1-100 score to show you how much energy and carbon your home uses. Your score can tell how much money and comfort your home is sacrificing and how it’s impacting the environment. You can use this number to compare yourself to your neighbours and get recommendations on improving your home and your score.
How Will Lightspark Improve My Home?
Many homeowners are familiar with home design concepts, but they often rely on contractors and other experts when it comes to making impactful upgrades to heating, ventilation, building envelope, and overall home efficiency.
Without the right knowledge, some homeowners find the home improvement process intimidating and are prone to making costly mistakes. The Lightspark Score and software features brings simplicity to this traditionally complicated process, and helps you make confident and informed decisions.
How Does the Lightspark Score Help Me Find the Right Products For My Home?
The Lightspark Score is an organizing principle for you to upgrade your home to be smarter. Each product or bundle has a score that shows how you can get you closer to your potential score!
Why Should I Use the Lightspark Score to Improve My Home?
In Canada, heating our homes accounts for 18 percent of our carbon emissions. Meanwhile, many families could be losing hundreds of dollars per year from wasteful heating and cooling.
The Lightspark Score gives you a rating from 0 to 100 to show you how much energy your home uses and how much carbon it releases. After you see your score, you get recommendations and tools to:
- Improve your score
- Reduce your energy costs
- Improve the comfort of your home
- Increase your property value, and
- Reduce your impact on the environment
Many home improvement projects check all five of these boxes at once, often by improving a home’s energy efficiency.
The Lightspark Score helps you understand how your home uses carbon and energy and provides a system to make smart decisions to improve your home’s energy efficiency.
Lightspark aims to provide you with education and insights into how your home is wasting energy, what products to buy to improve its comfort and energy savings, where and in what order to install them, and how you might access loans, rebates, and incentives from multiple sources.
How Does My Home Use Energy and What Does that Have to Do with Carbon Emissions?
A home uses energy to heat, cool, light, and power your daily life. Different “fuels” or energy types can power your home. For example, we use electricity, natural gas, furnace oil, and propane to heat our homes. All these energy types have different carbon emissions, and other energy sources, such as solar, wind, or geothermal, have little or no carbon footprint. In Alberta, because electricity is generated from natural gas, it has a higher carbon footprint.
If My Home Doesn’t Use Gas, Oil, or Propane, I Should Have a Low Carbon Score, Right?
There is also the energy source, such as the power plant or generation facility, that generates the electricity sent to your home, making up a portion of the carbon footprint to power your home. Different energy types from the generation plant emit different levels of emissions or greenhouse gases (GHG).
For example, if your electricity is powered by a generation plant that burns coal or natural gas, high carbon dioxide emissions will be associated with that energy. In contrast, much of Canada’s electricity production is from hydro-electric sources, with comparably low carbon emissions.
How Is My Lightspark Score Calculated?
A quick survey will give you your score, and we do all of the math behind the scenes, but we encourage you to read on if you want to learn how your score is calculated.
The Lightspark Score combines the total energy consumed and total carbon emissions for a dwelling into a single value scaled from 0 to 100, where higher scores indicate lower energy and carbon scores.
Carbon and energy are scaled using a benchmark value and a reference house for a city’s ‘worst performers.’ The scaled carbon/energy values are weighted equally (50% each) in calculating the Lightspark Score.
We normalize the scores to reflect the relative distance of each home from a low carbon and low energy household to a household with high energy use and high carbon emissions in that municipality or region.
We then weight the normalized scores (50% carbon, 50% energy). We subtract this weighted score from 1 (to change the direction) and multiply the result by 100 to give a Lightspark Score spanning from 0 to 100.
A higher scoring home has lower energy usage and carbon emissions, and a lower scoring home has higher energy usage and higher carbon emissions.
What is Included in the Lightspark Score?
The energy score is measured by Gigajoules of energy (GJ). The Lightspark Score includes all energy consumed in the everyday operation of the dwelling. This can be broken into the main fuels/energy used: natural gas, electricity, furnace oil, wood, and propane. The ‘Energy Score’ is the sum of these fuel sources used to heat and cool the space, heat hot water, and electricity to power appliances, lights, and other uses in the home.
All of the above energy uses have carbon associated with their use. We use standard fuel emission factors to convert the amount of fuel used (GJ) into its resulting carbon emissions measured in tonnes (t CO2-e).
For electricity, we use the regional or finer scale emission factor associated with that electricity source. The emission factor is the average amount of carbon emissions associated with a unit of electricity consumed in that jurisdiction.
Lightspark is a Canadian software company that partners with utilities and cities like yours to connect homeowners with information and tools to make informed decisions about their home’s energy efficiency. As experts in data and user experience, our overarching goal is to help simplify the traditionally complicated and intimidating process of improving your home.
Our team uses artificial intelligence and publicly available data from sources like EnerGuide to create the Lightspark Score and provide tailored recommendations. You can read more about how we protect your privacy here and send us feedback here.