Thanks to high – and ever increasing energy costs, combined with a weak economic recovery, homeowners are now talking about whose home is the more energy efficient. Energy efficient homes cost less to run and are more comfortable to live in. As a result, increasing numbers of homeowners are trying to establish how energy efficient their existing homes are and how to improve them. The first step is getting an energy rating, which is like an energy performance check-up for the home.

The Residential Energy Services Network’s (RESNET) Home Energy Rating System (HERS®) is the nationally recognized system for inspecting and calculating a home’s energy performance. When doing a comprehensive HERS energy rating, a certified RESNET HERS Rater will conduct a series of diagnostic tests using specialized equipment, such as: a blower door test, duct leakage tester, and infrared cameras to determine:

  • The amount and location of air leaks in the building envelope
  • The amount of leakage from HVAC distribution ducts
  • The effectiveness of insulation inside walls and ceilings

Other variables that are taken into account include:

  • Floors over unconditioned spaces (like garages or cellars)
  • Attics, foundations and crawlspaces
  • Windows and doors, vents and ductwork
  • Water heating system and thermostats

The comprehensive HERS rating provides:

  • A computerized simulation analysis utilizing RESNET Accredited Rating Software to calculate a rating score on the HERS Index.
  • The report will also contain a cost/benefit analysis for the recommended improvements and expected return on investment.

RESNET, an independent nonprofit organization, is a recognized national standards-making body for building energy efficiency rating and certification systems in the United States. Therefore, when scheduling an energy rating, homeowners should consider working with an energy rater that is RESNET certified. A recent report states that mortgage default risks were 32 per cent lower on ENERGY STAR labeled homes that were rated by a certified RESNET Home Energy Rater.

The HERS Index Score is like a MPG (miles-per-gallon) sticker for houses. It lets a homeowner know how energy efficient their home is in comparison to other similar homes. It’s also an excellent indicator for homebuyers as to the energy performance of the homes they’re looking at, and helps them make an informed decision when buying a house.