Savenia Launches Revolutionary Home ‘Shell’ Ratings

Today we are delighted to announce the launch of our long awaited Home Shell Ratings, an innovative home rating system to capture the dollar savings to home buyers of enhanced insulation, efficient windows, air sealing and other factors making up the building envelope. The Savenia ‘Shell’ Rating is our 6th product category (Appliances, Lighting, Water Heaters, HVAC, Solar, Shell) in an effort to unlock the value of efficiency upgrades in residential homes. See the full release here.

We’ve teamed up with Sandy Spring Builders, one of the leading high-end custom home builders and remodelers in the DC metro area to expand Savenia ratings to their new homes. Savenia has already awarded the Shell, Appliance, Water Heater, and Lighting plans in the Sandy Spring Savvy ‘SL’ line with a Gold Rating, signifying they are amongst the most energy efficient in the country.

Millions of Americans have upgraded their insulation as part of government or utility incentive programs, while new home builders are starting to pay more attention to the building envelope. These shell improvements have value – they can save thousands per year in utilities and can cost thousands more than the average home to install.

Studies show buyers are willing to pay a premium price (+9%) for efficiency rated homes that save on utility bills. With the launch of Savenia Shell Ratings, we can now help sellers, builders, Realtors and renovators unlock the value of these features with Savenia Home Rating Labels and marketing materials to help them differentiate, sell faster and capture more value.

It is a pleasure to work with Sandy Spring Builders, who have made a real commitment to building high efficiency into the core of their new homes.

Savenia helps homeowners, Realtors, builders and renovators unlock the value of home efficiency upgrades.

Savenia Teams with GCAAR to Educate Realtors on Promoting Efficiency Upgrades

Savenia, whose home rating labels are now featured on homes across the DC area (including The White House) and in 6 states nationwide, has teamed up with the Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS® (GCAAR) Capital Area Realtor magazine to educate REALTORS® on promoting homes with efficiency upgrades. GCAAR is one of the nation’s largest real estate associations, and their REALTOR® magazine reaches some 9,000 readers in the capital region.

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 4.05.51 PMRecognized for our expertise in home energy efficiency, Savenia emphasizes how REALTORS® can promote the value of efficiency features they increasingly encounter in their listings. Sellers are eager to promote the many thousands of dollars of upgrades and utility savings that today’s buyers are looking for. Savenia’s full-page guide gives REALTORS® a step-by-step process to start effectively marketing these valuable upgrades.

Savenia helps homeowners, REALTORS®, builders and renovators UNLOCK the value of home efficiency upgrades. Solar, High Efficiency Appliances, HVAC, Lighting, Water Heating and more.

Savenia provides home sellers with customized Home Rating Labels, marketing materials and online marketing to differentiate, sell faster, and capture the full value of homes for sale.

GCAAR is taking a leading role in educating REALTORS® on home sustainability attributes to support the next wave in growth of efficient homes and energy conscious buyers.

Electricity Prices Rise Again in 2013 – 10th Straight Year

Residential electricity prices rose again in 2013 for the 10th straight year. The average US household now pays around 12 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity, 2% ahead of last year but 44% above the cost back in 2002 before the current decade of price increases began.  Savenia Labs ElectroSavvy-DB database tracks energy cost and environmental impact data by zip code.

ElectroSavvy-DB LogoSome 80% of states saw prices increase, with Louisiana rates jumping almost 11%, while RI, NY, CA and ID saw increases in the 6-7% range.  The highest rates in the country continue to be in Hawaii at 3x the national average, followed by NY, AK, CT, VT and CA which all pay between 45-55% more than average. Illinois was the only state to see a double digit drop in prices of 11% vs last year.

While power plants are slowly moving to replace coal with natural gas – the impact is not yet being felt by residential customers. Forecasting is difficult as electricity demand continues to grow while natural gas supply tries to keep up with higher demand from the colder winter in the east and other sectors. It looks increasingly likely that 2014 prices will rise again.

Buyers will make very different purchase decisions based on local electric, gas and water pricing which can swing operating costs quite dramatically based on zip code. Savenia found that the least expensive washing machine to operate in some cities costs hundreds more to operate than other models in different locations, all due to local utility pricing. Savenia captures these differences to help buyers make better decisions. In RetailEnterprise and now for Home buyers and sellers.



Natural Gas Prices Decline in 2013 – 5th Year Running

Natural gas prices to US residential customers declined by 4% in 2013, marking the 5th straight year on year decline. Prices last peaked in 2008 and have since dropped 26%.

GasSavvy-DB LogoSavenia Labs recent update of our GasSavvy-DB database includes natural gas prices and impacts by zip code.  The highest natural gas prices in the country were in Hawaii – where residents paid almost $5 per therm, some 5x more than the median US price. Colorado has the lowest prices, around 75 cents per therm at a savings of 25% from the US median. Almost every state saw a decline in residential natural gas prices in 2013.

At the same time, electricity prices continue to rise (even though many power plants run on natural gas) and this is changing the dynamics of purchasing decisions for gas vs. electric appliances like furnaces and heat pumps – where traditionally the more efficient electric heat pump had the edge.

Despite this long-term trend, market conditions and weather can still have significant impacts on short-term pricing. Prices hit a 5-year high on Feb. 24 2014 as temperatures plunged due to the infamous polar vortex, with unanticipated high consumption pushing natural gas inventories to their lowest levels in the last 10 years. Since then, as inventories have adjusted, prices have subsided.

Going forward, pricing dynamics are harder to predict as more domestic gas supply (which normally means lower prices) is pitted against higher priced export customers. There are also outstanding questions on the environmental impacts of natural gas – both to air pollution and water supplies, and we look forward to larger scale studies to help quantify the differences vs. coal and other sources.

Buyers will make very different purchase decisions based on local gas, electric and water pricing which can swing operating costs quite dramatically based on zip code. Savenia captures these differences to help buyers make better decisions. In Retail, Enterprise and now for Home buyers and sellers.

Savenia Reveals First Look at Foreign Language Energy Rating Labels


Today we revealed a first look at Savenia Energy Rating Labels in Arabic, Chinese and Spanish which, together with our popular English labels, cover over 1/3 of the world population.  See the press release here.

template_4up-2We developed these labels not only with foreign languages, but local currencies and energy costs based on zip codes in Cairo, Shanghai, and Barcelona in addition to our hometown of Bethesda, Maryland.

Most countries still use first generation energy rating labeling systems that don’t allow for customization according to location.  And global retailers looking to drive their sustainability labeling around the world have had few options. Until now.

Savenia provides a unique and powerful solution for informing and educating buyers so they make better purchase decisions that reduce energy costs and energy demand.

And we think that makes sense in any language.

Let us know what you think. And make sure you check out our English labels in participating stores in the DC / Baltimore metro area here.


Savenia Labs Sneak Peek Into WaterSavvy-DB: New U.S. Regional Water Price Database

City Water Costs Chart with LogoSavenia Labs announced today that it has conducted an exhaustive analysis of the municipal water costs of hundreds of cities across the United States*, and has compiled this information into a unique database called WaterSavvy-DBTM. See full press release here.

WaterSavvy-DBTM is the most up-to-date database of municipal residential water costs in the US and affords valuable insights into one of our country’s most important natural resources.

The database will power the next generation of Savenia HYDROTM water, energy and environmental impact ratings for dishwashers and washing machines to help buyers save money and local water supplies.

Here is a sample of our findings.

Pricing System Permutations

There is no standard way localities charge for water costs – from our search we found more than a dozen ways to calculate a water bill, ranging from one fixed price per month, to rates that rise depending on usage and change by the season.  There are pricing tiers, seasonal rates, fixed costs, administrative fees, sewer rates, block rates, average and marginal per gallon costs. WaterSavvy-DBTM captures every feature of pricing for all its cities.

Not Just Water Anymore

Over 60% of the average water bill is for sewer and administrative fees. While there is a  wide variation on how water bills are calculated, on average a family of four in the United States pays most for sewer ($32/mo.) followed by water ($30) and administrative fees ($19) on their monthly water bills.

Dramatic Price Differences

Savenia found big differences in water prices across the country. The most expensive water was in Atlanta, GA where an average family spends $2,600 per year – almost 10 times more than residents in Wilmington, DE. Interestingly, 4% of cities surveyed don’t pay for water based on their usage but instead pay flat fees regardless of usage. The average US household pays $80 per month.  Pricing logic is not always clear. We found cheap water in the Southwest where water is thought to be scarce, and expensive water in areas where rivers seem to be full. In many cases sewer costs seem to be driving the differences.

Bringing It All Together For Shoppers

Using this data, Savenia found that shoppers in different cities would choose completely different appliances to save money depending on local water and electricity prices. Take the example of two families living in different states looking to buy a washing machine. One family, in Hilo, Hawaii, pays some of the country’s highest electricity rates but comparatively low water prices. The other family is in Seattle, WA, with high water prices, but comparatively low electricity rates. They’ve narrowed down their options to these two similarly sized Energy Star washing machines from well-known brands:

  • The Whirlpool WTW4880AW, 3.4 cu. ft., retailing for $600 (144 kWh/yr, 7743 gallons/yr)
  • The GE GWFH1200DWW, 3.56 cu. ft., retailing for $800 (181 kWh/yr, 5582 gallons/yr)

In Hilo, the family would save about $300 over their washing machine’s lifetime by purchasing the Whirlpool, while the Seattle family would save about $300 by purchasing the GE model. Drastically different decisions based on local utility pricing. If electricity or water prices go up over time they would save even more.

With the power of WaterSavvy-DBTM, Savenia Labs continues to illuminate hidden appliance costs and environmental impacts.

Savenia Energy Ratings are available in participating DC / Baltimore Metro Area Retailers (list here) – and for Savenia Enterprise customers.

*For this survey, Savenia Labs assumed water use for a family of 4 using a consistent 8400 gallons a month regardless of season. No hookup or starting fees were assessed and there were no irrigation or grey water recycling systems in the house. The water is city billed and maintained (where available) and the family is billed monthly. The family lives in a standalone house with a 5/8ths or, if unavailable, 3/4ths connection with 8 rooms and is within the city limits.

Savenia Labs Earns B Corporation Recertification

B Corp LogoSince Savenia Labs became the first Certified B Corp in Bethesda, MD, back in 2011 – the community we’ve helped grow has exploded. Now there are over 800 B Corps representing 60 industries in 27 countries. Twenty US states legally recognize B Corps– for-profit companies that exist for public benefit – putting them on an equal footing with other for-profit legal structures like LLC or C Corp.  Our home state of Maryland was first to adopt this new legal structure, and recently Delaware – where 50% of all US companies are listed – has come on board.

Certified B Corporations are legally obligated to provide a public benefit, and balance the interests of stockholders with those affected by the company’s practices. As part of the rigorous recertification process, Savenia Labs underwent an extensive 3rd party audit of our environmental activities. This also covered our policies with regard to employees, community, supply chain, and the ways we reduce our environmental impacts and encourage others to do the same. Our independently audited report card, certifications and policies are always published on our website for full transparency. Click here.

As a Certified B Corp, Savenia Labs is part of a dynamic, creative, fast-growing cohort of companies that do good by doing well. We think it makes good business sense. By educating buyers and helping them save money on their energy and water bills, Savenia  fosters a win-win-win: for shoppers, forward thinking businesses and the environment. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished and want to thank everyone for the tremendous support.

Savenia’s World First Spotlight and Floodlight Labels Make Savings Easy

Savvy LightbulbToday we are delighted to announce the world’s first light bulb energy and environmental impact rating labels for floodlights and spotlights. Full press release here.

By bringing the power of Savenia Labs Energy Rating Labels to these high energy bulbs, shoppers can easily see how much it costs to light their homes across different bulb technologies, before they buy, at participating retailers.

Studies show fewer than 20% of the spot- and floodlights sold today are LEDs. With prices lower than ever, why haven’t consumers made the switch?

Buying light bulbs has become complicated.  One thing that should be easy is calculating the big energy and cost savings from switching to energy efficient bulbs. Savenia Labs can help. Until now, comparing the total costs for 3 bulbs required 11 mathematical calculations in the aisle.  As the average home has 50 mostly energy-hungry incandescent light bulbs, shoppers stand to save thousands by switching to more efficient bulbs that use less energy and last longer.

We found that some floodlight bulbs cost over $160 to power and require 8 bulb changes over a standardized 15-year lighting period, while others can cost as little as $40 to run over the same period with a single bulb.

Savenia Labs’ newest Energy Rating Labels make it easy to see which bulbs will cost more in electricity over time and how many bulbs you’ll need to replace over the same period. Energy costs and carbon footprints are customized by local zip code.

The labels simplify and highlight the potential cost savings between bulbs at a glance, so shoppers can consider other features important to them.

You can see the selection of Savenia Labs Energy Rated light bulbs on the shelf at participating stores throughout the Washington DC and Baltimore regions.  You can also review our analysis of the features, brands, and results on your smartphone.  Let us know what you think!

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Savenia Labs Launches Enterprise Subscription Service

Today we are delighted to announce the launch of Savenia Enterprise, a new subscription service to the Savenia proprietary energy ratings database for enterprise customers. The full press release is here. We are delighted to be working with The Universities at Shady Grove to bring the benefits of the Savenia system to this highly regarded higher education enterprise.
Enterprise customers are an important 2nd channel in Savenia’s mission to change the way individuals and organizations think about choosing products to make better purchasing decisions.  While Retail represents large sellers, Enterprise customers represent large buyers, large energy users and large populations of on-site consumers. Enterprises purchase and maintain thousands of products each year across various locations.
Savenia Energy Ratings provide an easy way for enterprises to decide which products to buy to maximize savings and minimize environmental impacts. Savenia Energy Rating Labels and associated materials can be used to communicate the importance of company sustainability efforts across the organization and to external stakeholders.
We look forward to working with The Universities at Shady Grove to further their industry leading sustainability initiatives and help them realize reductions in energy costs and associated environmental impact, while driving sustainability education on and off campus to students, staff and stakeholders.
Get the inside info on Savenia World Firsts before everybody else. SIGN-UP

Savenia Labs Launches First ‘HYDRO’ Washing Machine & Dishwasher Energy Rating Labels

We are delighted to announce today the launch of Savenia Labs ‘HYDRO’ Energy Rating Labels on large appliances.  Full release is here. These labels are the first of their kind to report both lifetime water use and energy cost, customized by zip code region anywhere in the US.

Screen Shot 2013-06-06 at 5.48.59 AMWater is increasingly viewed as one of our nations most valuable natural resources. Whether due to the realities of water scarcity in the west, or concerns about water quality in the east, people are looking for more information to make better decisions. Savenia Labs can help.

Most people might be surprised to know that for washing machines, we found water costs can run 3-4x higher than energy costs, so buying water efficient units saves both money and the environment.

The thirstiest washing machine we rated used 140,000 gallons of water, the equivalent of 14 swimming pools of water over its 11 year lifetime at a water cost of $1,650 (Potomac, MD), while the most water efficient unit of the same size used only 1/3 that amount. But up to now it has been difficult to compare water use across products in the same category at the time of purchase. Savenia Labs HYDRO Energy Rating Labels solve this problem by providing both water use AND energy use by product at a glance, so buyers can make better decisions.

The ratings are currently available to enterprise customers, and will be made available to appliance retailers and consumers in fall 2013.  In the meantime, consumers can sign-up for information on the Savenia Hydro program here.