The Thousand Home Challenge is moving the category of recognition forward that represents "Half-way there".

There is consensus that this category not be the same as meeting the 1000 Home Challenge. We are not lowering the standard (approximately 70% above average) for meeting the Challenge. 

There is much to learn from households that use half the energy as average Americans,  In many cases, contrary to conventional energy efficiency wisdom, they often have cost-effective opportunities to further cut their energy use - in many cases substantially. 

However, what do we call this new category of recognition?

How do we embrace this level of performance without diluting or confusing the brand?

How do we streamline the verification process?

What I need most are your comments on a name.

Please weigh in with additional name suggestions and your thoughts about this new development.

Honorable Mention?

2nd Base?

Half-way There?

Thousand Home Challenge Lite?

On the Path?

50% Better?

Combination of the above?


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  • Thanks for the many comments and insights. In terms of a name for the 50% halfway there category, I feel that 50% Milestone will work best. Thanks Chie for this suggestion!

    Anyone with a better idea? 

  • Is the intention of adding another recognition category to (a) increase participation or to (b) increase case study library?

    (a) Increase Participation

    Having another recognition category may attract those who found the 70% reduction daunting but feels 35% reduction (I'm assuming halfway means 70% divided by 2) is achievable.  I feel this dilutes the brand of THC.  But, if you're launching a sister program with separate criteria and verification tailored to this audience then it's a different story.  I think of it like marathon and half marathon -- they're different races with different goals and recognition.  In a running event if someone signed up and started running a full marathon and could only run 13.1 miles they would not receive a half marathon medal, they would simply be marked DNF (did not finish).  But if they signed up for a half marathon race then they should be proud to have covered that distance and received the medal.

    (b) Increase Case Study Library

    If the intention is to recognize and share effective or useful practices by those that are in the program who have not yet met the challenge then recognition at the halfway point is affirming the brand.  Every retrofit is unique and sharing what worked, what didn't, and what they would do differently next time is very valuable.  These case studies that highlighting unique solutions will serve and inform others and a milestone recognition a would elicit encouragement from the community to keep going.  I don't like the label "honorable mention" because it implies the race or contest is over and candidate is not moving forward.  Something like "35% reduction" or "50% reduction" award?  Kind of like how dark chocolates are labeled?


    • Chie - 

      Great comments 

      I think part of the difficulty in framing & conveying it is that I see it as both intentions -  to increase participation and increasing the case study library. 

      To clarify, the proposed recognition category is 50% reduction or improvement, not 35%. To achieve a 70-75% reduction you need to cut your energy use in half, and then half again. For example, if the starting place is 100 and you cut that in half, you are now at 50; to get to a 75% reduction you need to cut your current 50 in half again. So while the overall reduction from 100 is 70 to 75%, it consists of two 50% reductions. 

      So the "fifty percent better than average" group are a substantial improvement in home energy performance over average US household energy use. However they are only halfway to a typical 1000 Home Challenge threshold for a specific project. 

      There are questions by many regarding whether or not, or how often, deeper energy reductions makes sense. I initially had assumed that conventional energy wisdom was correct - the lower the energy use, the fewer opportunities there are for additional reductions. While the potential for absolute reductions are less in a lower energy home, it appears that additional opportunities for reductions can be easier to see, as a higher performance home has less "noise". It is easier to see the impact of actions that may have been previously disguised or distorted. 

      If one agrees that the premise of the 1000 Home Challenge is correct, and that we as a country and society need to substantially reduce energy use and the environmental impact of existing homes, it is critical to accelerate experience and learning at the higher performance end of the curve. What are the critical issues regarding sequencing? How can we capture positive synergies and minimize negative synergies (humidity, IAQ, cooling, ventilation)? Are there deal breakers - such as a poorly designed air distribution system, or are there creative work-rounds to minimize their negative impact? What actions increase opportunities and reduce the investment required for a project to meet the Thousand Home Challenge, what actions impose barriers? 

      Offering recognition for the 50% group increases the opportunity to engage them regardless of whether or not they think they are done. And engaging them increases the liklihood that they will continue to explore options for further reductions. ..(I think)

      Doesn't solve the problem of potential confusion. 


    • Hi Linda,

      Thank you for clarifying the % reduction for the proposed new category.  Yes, 50% reduction is significant and an award that conveys the achievement should have a title with a nice ring to it.  I don't like the word "half" because I have more negative than positive association with the word (like half-baked, half-assed, halfway house).  Here are my suggestions to throw into the mix for consideration:

      • 50% Reduction Stage Award
      • 50% Milestone Award
      • Significant Achievement Award:  50% Reduction 
      • Lime Green Stage Award (color reference to HERS index)

      I think the measurement of achieving this level this could be as simple as:

      1. Adding 2 cells on the application form immediately below the Option-A and Option-B numbers to indicate the 50% numbers for each option. This make the target numbers very clear.
      2. Whenever 12-months of utility data hit the 50% mark the achievement recognition is awarded.

      As for increasing case study library how about hosting a monthly webinar on different topics by creating a schedule of what worked well and lessons learned from the THC community members?  You know that we show up whenever you ask to contribute to the forum but we hardly ever volunteer information without your nudging.  I know you've done all of these in the past so I'm simply restating the things I found useful.  To organize this it could be something like this:

      • Solicit webinar topics and discussion leaders from the group
      • The format could be (a) given a topic there are 3 or 4 panel members from the group sharing their experience; (b) crowd source the solution to a specific problem that someone is having by inviting members to pitch in with ideas and expertise.
      • Assign a scribe to summarize highlights of the webinar and post a new discussion in this forum ( with a link back to THC website.  This keeps the discussion alive by having people pitch in their ideas after the webinar.
      • Also, separate from the webinar content have an evergreen discussion thread on this forum where people can simply note lessons learned, problems, or what didn't work.  I think people tend to shy way from sharing stories of things that didn't work but those are really useful learning experiences.
      • Put together a 12-month schedule of topics and post on this forum as well as THC website.  Perhaps it can be coordinated with topics featured in conferences (ACEEE, ACI, ZNE, etc.) or publications (Home Energy magazine) to draw more people into the discussion.

      I'm grateful that you continue to engage us and keep the THC vision alive Linda.  Keep letting us know how we can best help.


    • Great suggestions Chie - 

      Of the names you propose, I like "50% Milestone" the best.

      So far we have not effectively linked this forum to the 1000 Home Challenge website very effectively.

      Could you clarify what you mean by evergreen discusssion?

    • Hi Linda,

      Using the word "evergreen" I intended to convey the notion of topics that are of general interest with a life longer than a specific discussion thread.  On second thought it may not be useful to overly dissect the posting for information categorization purposes.  

    • How about an entry point? Instead of waiting for completed projects, approach it the way you would a race, or a diet, with an entry weigh in.

      You'd get data from a whole lot of baselines. There could be an annual progress check, which would give data on how long these projects take and provide competitive opportunity around setting and reaching milestones. People could set overall goals, and also annual goals like "I want to get 25% of the way there every year."

    • I agree Ted. We have that option. We accept folks who want to apply as a 1000 Home Challenge candidate. Projects can come in at any phase of planning or completion. They can also come in with a 5-year plan to get to their goal over a period of time.

  • Linda, I am tempted to say "Don't make other categories". I think that people who try for THC status and fail to make the criteria should still be in the case studies. Their efforts can help in the learning. Did they not meet their predicted energy performance? Are the prediction models wrong? Were they flummoxed by a continuing high discretionary electrical usage?

    I am not convinced that homeowners and renovators should have a lower target. You only have (according to the website) 25 successful examples but they have achieved their goals and provide inspiration. Partial successes are not that inspiring.

    If you have lower thresholds, you could make them part of a Million House Challenge.


  • I think this is a great idea! And I like "Halfway There," because it implies you're going to keep on until you get there! Or maybe something like "Closing In" to really offer encouragement. 
    It could be good to include something like "Award" or "Honor Award" to emphasize that halfway is really a significant achievement. And maybe make the documentation requirements really minimal, to entice people to participate. A critical mass of numbers could really give the program a boost.
    In fact, could earning that badge entitle the awardee to some additional level of assistance with the remaining reductions? Or put them on a newsletter list so they would get regular tips and updates to nudge them along? Or???
    Love this!
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