The 1000 Home Challenge is the only initiative that recognizes that the principal barrier to deep energy reductions is not a lack of technology or insurmountable cost, but rather the choices that people make in how they use energy.

Thriving Low on Carbon Website

Marc Rosenbaum, P.E.

South Mountain Co., Inc., West Tisbury, MA

The 1000 Home Challenge demonstrates that the stretch goals of 80% carbon reduction by 2050 can be achieved today. It does this by leveraging all of the motivations a person has to improve their living environment, encouraging peer comparisons and interactions, and focusing on measured performance. I had already cut the energy use in my house in half and declared myself done, but 1KHC has since motivated me to chart and follow a path of continuous improvement in my home’s performance which has spilled over to transportation, lifestyle, and overall resource efficiency.

Bruce Ceniceros

1KHC Applicant and Principal Demand Side Planner for the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Folsom, CA

Most importantly, the 1000 Home Challenge demonstrates significant measured reductions of energy use, and provides a simple way to empower participants – The target for each household is customized, logical, and easy to apply – whether to use as a benchmark or to track progress. Even those who have made significant investments often fall short of meeting their home’s target. The Thousand Home Challenge is a challenge that can inspire and clarify the variety of opportunities to transform the way we use household energy.

(His home exceeds NZE by source definition.)

University of Central Florida Website

Danny Parker

Principal Research Scientist, Florida Solar Energy Center, University of Central Florida, Cocoa, Florida

The Thousand Home Challenge has made many people look at their existing home energy bills and wonder why they are this high. It has allowed creative people who care about the environment to ponder ways to make their homes and their lifestyle more sustainable. This has had an impact on all home building performance programs in this regard.


Betsy Pettit and Joe Lstiburek

Principals, Building Science Corporation, Westford, MA

There are many “green building” efforts out there. Most of them will result in one or a handful of boutique buildings and some bragging rights, with little impact on what drives the effort in the first place — significant reductions in the overall energy picture. To make a difference, a program must have three elements: 1) existing buildings, 2) deep fixes, and 3) lots of buildings. The Thousand Home Challenge has what it takes, plus inspired leadership by Linda Wigington.

William B. Rose

Senior Research Architect, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

It is clear that we must deal with the existing building and can’t rely on new construction to reduce overall carbon footprints. Residential retrofit programs must reach for targets analogous to ZNE goals to have any chance of a built environment that supports societal sustainability.
Current programs are constrained by inapplicable total resource cost test economics that promote incremental improvements. These improvements are not typically on the path toward deep reductions or may even be in conflict with such a path.  
The Thousand Home Challenge is a great way to set the bar for an aspirational goal, starting with the end in mind that allows planning back from that level of performance instead of investing in incremental isolated changes. Using the Thousand Home Challenge as a societal goal and the pathways it illustrates is analogous to seeking ZNE buildings in new construction. ZNE for new and Thousand Home Challenge for existing buildings fulfills this need to have a clear target to achieve.
Charles Segerstrom

Sonora, California, Past President, ACI Board of Directors, Retired, Manager, Energy Centers, Pacific Gas and Electric Company

National Grid is pleased to be a supporter of the Thousand Home Challenge. It is a great way to share the work and lead the way in doing the right thing in our homes in terms of performance and climate change action.

David Connelly Legg,

Dave Legg Energy Associates, (with National Grid at time of endorsement)

Those things we choose to do, particularly those long-term in nature, are motivated by our vision of the future. This has been the case for my participation in the Thousand Home Challenge to bring about my deep energy reduction project.

My actions are in response to my vision of a future of fossil fuel depletion and an increasing accumulation of the consequences of their use. It is my hope that my actions and what I have learned from them will inform and motivate others to engage in a deep energy reduction project.

E. F. Schumacher said, “Perhaps we cannot raise the winds. But each of us can put up the sail, so that when the wind comes we can catch it.” Let us set our sails to capture the shifting winds of the future.

Ward Lutz

Ward’s home was the first completed Thousand Home Challenge project in Ohio; his home is now a net zero energy home in Urbana, Ohio. View case study, links & presentations.

The successful completion of Thousand Home Challenge Option B for two consecutive years by the Belmont, MA DER illustrates the value of a dedicated team paying careful attention to design details. This was an outstanding learning experience for all involved, from detailed design, construction and testing, to the use of energy and environmental monitoring to provide feedback to assist in behavioral decisions. This example of “whole systems thinking,” included the occupants in design and operational phases. THC is especially rigorous by requiring actual energy use data for verification, unlike other “green building” metrics. Real data are what we need to “close the loop,” to understand the actual impact of our choices.

Mike Duclos, Principal

CPHC, DEAP Energy Group, Newton, MA

The Brownsberger Family project in Belmont, MA was the sixth one to meet the Thousand Home Challenge, and the first two-family dwelling to participate.

The Thousand Home Challenge has two major advantages over other residential energy saving initiatives. First, success is based on measured (rather than theoretical) energy usage. A successful house actually has a recorded year with very low energy usage. These are real savings. Conversely, the other aspect I like about the initiative is that houses that fail to meet the Challenge criteria are still useful for education purposes. Achieving THC status does not provide you with an engraved plaque on your door or approval from regulatory agencies.

This means that homeowners or renovators who fail to meet the criteria can openly discuss choices made and how they would go about improving their house performance based on this retrospection. This openness can only lead to better focused and more effective efforts by future projects.

Don Fugler

Researcher, Ottawa, Ontario

The first time that I heard Linda Wigington talk about the Thousand Home Challenge was like a breath of fresh air. The Thousand Home Challenge breaks through the conventional payback mentality that only considers savings on our utility bills. We all know that there are many more factors to consider — from the military, psychological, and spiritual costs of “protecting our interests” in oil exporting regions of the world.
If a person wants to do the right thing for energy efficiency in their existing home, how do they determine reasonable goals? How does an architect or builder communicate these goals to their clients? I am delighted to have discovered the Thousand Home Challenge because I now have a framework for estimating a household’s fair share of energy use based on climate, home size, fuel type, and number of occupants.
A. George Beeler

Principal Architect, AIM Associates, Petaluma, CA

A. George Beeler is the owner of the first completed Thousand Home project in California.

Read more on the Case Studies page.


When I renovated my property located in the Rocky Mountains, I was very pleased that I had achieved a significant reduction in energy use per square foot, only to find that by Thousand Home Challenge criteria I still had to cut my energy use in half to meet the Challenge. Since then, participating in the THC has provided an ongoing opportunity to learn, invest more time and money, track results, and be challenged. My regret is that I did not know about the Thousand Home Challenge when I started my project, as I would have gone deeper at that time.

Turner Building Science & Design, LLC
William A. Turner

MS, PE, LEED AP, President/CEO

The Thousand Home Challenge webinar was most helpful to our team. Since we are planning a flip of this foreclosed home, we won’t be using THC the way most people do. The value of the THC tool is that it provides a target and starts a discussion about various ways to meet that target. Because of our short-term ownership of the home, we won’t be officially making the Challenge. However, our goal will be to provide the new homeowner a home where they could possibly live with that level of comfort and utility costs … if they choose to follow through with appropriate lifestyle and plug load decisions. Thanks for a great tool!

Facebook: GreenEarthEquities; Twitter: @GrnRthDave
Dave Robinson

Principal, GreenEarthEquities