What is an Energy Rating?

April 28, 2019 energy efficient homeHERS energy raterhers indexhers index ratingHERS ratingshome energy efficiencyRESNET HERS raters

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.

How to Get a HERS Index Score for Your Home – Infographic

June 24, 2016 energy efficiencyenergy efficientenergy efficient homeenergy homesenergy saving tipsHERS energy raterhers indexHERS Index scorehome energyinfographic

How do you know how energy efficient your home is? By its HERS Index Score, of course!   The lower your score, the more energy efficient your home. Check out this infographic to learn how you can get a HERS Index Score for your home.

6859_RES_June_2016_Infographic_v4

HERS Index Infographic

May 13, 2016 energy efficiencyenergy efficientenergy efficient appliancesenergy efficient homeenergy efficient homesenergy homesenergy ratingenergy saving tipshers indexHERS Index scoreHERS Index scoresHERS ratingshome energyhome energy efficiency

Check out this infographic about the HERS Index and what some of the scores mean. Great for sharing with friends and family!

6815_RES_Infographic_May_v6-01

Heating Energy Assessment Tool™ by AREVS

November 25, 2015

Understanding home heating energy performance just got easier. The new Heating Energy Assessment Tool (HEAT) from AREVS is a RESNET Approved, easy-to-use web-based application that tells home energy professionals, homeowners, and renters whether or not a home is in need of energy retrofits or upgrades. Using patented algorithms that are normalized for house size and geographical location, and information from its utility bill, HEAT provides a heating energy audit for a home in less than 5 minutes. A simple A+ through F grade range gives instant understanding of home heating performance.

Advantages for Professionals:

  • A “first line” assessment tool to determine if a home needs further envelope assessment.
  • Can be used for performance-based quality assurance verification for homes that have undergone weatherization upgrades.
  • Eliminates need for on-site inspections.
  • Offers opportunity for en masse initial ratings.
  • Pre-qualified leads sent directly to your sales team.
  • Use HEAT as a complement to asset-based rating programs.

Advantages for Homeowners:

  • Economical and easy-to-use.
  • Information from a single energy bill results in a custom HEAT Assessment in less than 5 minutes.
  • Determine energy consumption and costs for heating, air conditioning and hot water.
  • Provides an accurate assessment of whether a home is in need of energy retrofits or upgrades.
  • Provides an accurate assessment of whether a home is in need of a further envelope assessment from a certified RESNET professional.
  • Verify energy savings achieved through weatherization and energy upgrades.
  • Know a home’s PITI+E payment: Principal, Interest, Taxes, Insurance, and Energy – the true cost of home ownership.

RESNET is offering both home energy professionals and homeowners a one-time free Heating Energy Assessment to demonstrate how HEAT works. Afterwards, you can purchase a detailed HEAT Rating Report from AREVS outlining your home’s exact alpha grade, Energy Rating Number, and heating and cooling fuel consumption and cost data. To learn more about HEAT, visit https://www.arevs.us/heatpartner.php?partnerid=A12bck98W4342Z

AREVS develops software and data sets for the Home Performance, Real Estate, and Energy industries. HEAT is available for all customers as a stand-alone web application, a white label web application, or a website plugin.

Knowledge Is Power for Homebuyers with HERS® Index Scores!

August 12, 2014

Consumers looking for new appliances or cars have the advantage of the EnergyGuide label or miles-per-gallon (MPG) sticker to comparison-shop for models based on energy efficiency. Now homebuyers can do the same with Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index scores. A home’s HERS Index Score tells prospective buyers how energy efficient that home is in comparison to similar ones, enabling them to make better-informed buying decisions.

Developed by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET), the HERS Index was introduced in 2006 and is the nationally recognized system for inspecting, testing and calculating a home’s energy performance. Government agencies such as the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) all accept HERS Index scores as an official verification of energy performance.

Issuing a Home with a HERS Index Score

To get a HERS Index Score, a home must be rated for energy performance. This is done through an energy rating, which is essentially a comprehensive home energy performance assessment. This information is then compared to a “reference home”, which is a design-modeled home of the same size and shape as the actual home. The reference home meets all the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) requirements and is rated as energy efficient. It is issued with a default HERS Index Score of 100. Homes with HERS Index scores of 100 or lower are considered energy efficient; the lower the score, the more energy efficient the home.

Ask for the HERS Index Score Before You Buy!

Many builders are already using HERS Index scores as a marketing tool for their homes. The HERS Index website features a section that lists RESNET EnergySmart Builders, who are committed to having their homes rated for energy performance and issued with HERS Index scores. Also, in recognition of the growing demand for energy efficient homes, increasing numbers of homeowners are getting HERS Index scores for their homes before putting them on the market. Many multiple listing services (MLS) too are beginning to list HERS Index scores.

Knowing a home’s HERS Index Score allows a buyer to better understand the long-term costs of owning the home. Outside of the monthly mortgage payments, the biggest household expenditure is the energy bill, so a lower HERS Index Score would mean a more energy efficient – and therefore more affordable – home. To learn more about energy ratings and HERS Index scores, talk to a certified RESNET Home Energy Rater.

Five Things You Didn’t Know About Energy Audits

May 30, 2014 energy efficiencyenergy efficientenergy efficient homeenergy efficient homesHome Energy Assessmenthome energy audithome energy auditshome energy efficiencysave energy

As a homeowner, you may already know that home energy audits help lower your utility bills and improve home comfort, but they provide even more benefits than you might think. Here are five things you probably didn’t know about energy audits:

1. There are two types energy audits:

  •  Home Energy Survey
    • A visual inspection not including the use of diagnostic testing equipment.
    • Assesses the general energy performance of an existing home including:
      • Building envelope features (windows, doors, insulation, ducts) and ages.
      • Heating, cooling and ventilation equipment types, characteristics and ages.
      • Appliance and lighting characteristics.
      • Comfort complaints.
      • Visible moisture issues.
      • Visible health and safety issues.
    • A report of the complete audit is provided, including basic recommendations for improving the home’s energy efficiency, as well as low-cost, do-it-yourself tasks.
    • Takes approximately one hour to complete.
  • General Energy Audit
    • Collects more detailed information about the home’s energy usage, as well as a more thorough financial analysis of its energy costs.
    • Includes diagnostic testing using specialized equipment to determine:
      • The location and number of air leaks in the building envelope.
      • How much leakage is occurring from HVAC distribution ducts.
      • The effectiveness of the insulation inside walls and ceilings.
      • If there are any existing or potential combustion safety issues.
      • Includes a detailed report providing suitable retrofit recommendations and specifications.
    • Takes 3-4 hours to complete, depending on the size of your home.

2. Depending on the type of home energy audit you get, you can expect to pay $300 to $800 for one.

3. A home energy audit can help increase your home’s resale value and marketability.

  • A home’s market value increases by $20 for every $1 decrease in annual energy costs.
  • Decreasing your energy costs by $300 per year increases the value of your home by $6,000.

4. You can defray the costs of many energy improvements recommended by an energy audit through government energy tax credits and incentives.

5. You can expect a good return on investment when you opt for energy-saving improvements to your home, around 16% after taking into account the money spent making those improvements. And your ROI continues to increase as energy prices rise, which means the value of your investment grows accordingly.

To schedule a home energy audit, contact your local certified RESNET Home Energy Auditor and enjoy the peace of mind of knowing you’re working with a recognized industry professional.

Why HERS® Rated Energy Efficient Homes Are Better!

October 24, 2013 energy efficientenergy efficient homeenergy efficient homesenergy ratinghers indexHERS Index scorehome energyHome energy ratingresnet

Imagine being able to buy a home the same way you would when buying a car or a major household appliance – by knowing how much it’s going to cost you to run. Consumers can examine MPG stickers for cars and Energy Guide labels for appliances to get a good idea about how energy efficient they are. But what can homebuyers look at to assess the energy performance – and affordability of the homes they are viewing? They can ask for the HERS Index Score.

The Home Energy Rating System Index, or HERS Index as it’s better known as is the nationally recognized system for inspecting, testing and calculating a home’s energy performance. The HERS Index Score informs consumers about how a house ranks for energy efficiency as compared to other similar homes. As a result, homebuyers can view homes based on their projected energy costs and make better informed buying decisions.

The way the HERS Index Score works is the lower the score, the better. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a typical resale home scores 130 on the HERS Index and a home built to the 2004 International Energy Conservation Code is awarded a rating of 100. Therefore, the lower the HERS Index Score, the more energy efficient the home.

Unlike the automobile and appliance manufacturing industries, the housing market has long suffered from a lack of transparency when it comes to home energy efficiency. Many potential homebuyers remain unaware of the fact that just because they can afford the mortgage doesn’t always mean they can afford the home. That’s because outside the home loan, the highest cost of homeownership is energy.

HERS rated homes cost less to run, are more comfortable to live in and enjoy higher resale values. Furthermore, a recent study shows that mortgage default risks are 32% lower on HERS rated, energy efficient homes. So what makes HERS rated homes better? Everything!

HERS INDEX Scores – the LOWER, the BETTER!

October 11, 2013 energy ratinghers indexHERS Index scoreHERS Index scoreshow to get an energy ratingmeasure hers index scores for homeWhat Energy Ratings are

The HERS Index is revolutionizing the way Americans are buying homes. It’s no longer a secret that the biggest cost of homeownership outside of the mortgage loan is energy. That’s why more homebuyers are thinking twice about buying a home before understanding what its potential energy costs could be. How are they doing that? By asking for its HERS Index Score.

What does “the lower, the better” mean?

The HERS Index Score is the housing industry’s version of a MPG (miles-per-gallon) sticker; it informs you about how energy efficient a house is. The lower the score, the more energy efficient the home. If you’re comparing homes based on energy performance, look for ones with lower HERS Index scores… in fact the lower, the better! A recent study has shown that homes with lower HERS Index scores are proven money-savers.

A low HERS Index Score is equally beneficial to homeowners. It means that their home is energy efficient, which translates into lower energy costs, better home comfort and increased resale values.

How do you get a HERS Index Score?

A HERS Index Score is the result of a comprehensive HERS rating, in which a certified RESNET HERS Rater assesses a home on its energy performance. Some of the variables included in an energy rating are:

  • All exterior walls (both above and below grade)
  • Floors over unconditioned spaces (like garages or cellars)
  • Ceilings and roofs
  • Attics, foundations and crawlspaces
  • Windows and doors, vents and ductwork
  • HVAC systems, water heating system, and your thermostat.
  • Air leakage of the home
  • Leakage in the heating and cooling distribution system

You can contact your local certified RESNET HERS Rater or RESNET EnergySmart Builder to find out how to get an energy rating or find an energy efficient home.

What is the HERS Index?

Developed by the Residential Energy Services Network and introduced in 2006, the HERS Index is the industry standard by which a home’s energy efficiency is measured. Government agencies such as the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognize the HERS Index as an official verification of energy performance.

To learn more about the HERS Index, energy ratings and how to get an energy efficient home, visit the new HERS Index website.

 

 

Saving Money: Just One of the Many Great Reasons to Get a Home Energy Audit!

October 2, 2013 energy auditenergy auditsenergy conservation consultantenergy efficiencyHome Energy Assessmenthome energy audithome energy audit checklisthome energy auditorhome energy auditshome energy efficiencyhow to get an energy audit

Home energy efficiency is quickly rising to top of the agenda for many homeowners. Increasing energy costs and uncomfortable home environments are driving Americans to seek out energy solutions. One of the first places to start is with a homeenergy audit. Here are 5 reasons to get an energy audit.

Reduce Your Energy Bill

A home energy audit identifies where and how your home is losing energy. A certified RESNET Home Energy Auditor or energy conservation consultant will identify which systems in your home are working inefficiently (e.g. HVAC), and propose cost-effective solutions.

Improve Your Home Comfort

Drafty doors and windows, and rooms that are too cold in winter or too hot in summer are just some of the energy problems that contribute to an uncomfortable living environment. A home energy audit will uncover these problems.

Uncover Potential Health Issues

In many cases, mold and mildew problems are due to energy efficiency issues. A home energy audit will examine where and how these problems are occurring, and propose cost-effective solutions.

Identify Duct Problems

Inefficient ducts can be reason behind fluctuating temperatures, differences in dust or humidity build-up, and skyrocketing heating and cooling costs. An energy audit will show you what ductwork, if any, needs to be repaired or replaced.

Save the Environment

Residential homes are among the biggest contributors of greenhouse gases. Much of it is through the production and transmission of electricity in homes. By making your home more energy efficient, you’re saving energy, money and doing your bit for the environment. The first place to start is with a home energy audit.

What is a Home Energy Audit?

September 6, 2013 energy auditsenergy efficiencyenergy efficientenergy efficient homesHome Energy Assessmenthome energy audithome energy audit costhome energy auditshome energy efficiencywhat is a home energy auditwhat is an energy audit

What is an energy audit? You’d be surprised at how many people are unable to answer that question! Home energy audits are detailed home examinations that determine:

  • Where and how energy is being lost in a home.
  • Which systems in the home are operating inefficiently.
  • Which cost-effective measures can be put in place to make the home more comfortable, affordable and energy efficient.

There are 2 different types of audits that homeowners can choose to get the maximum home energy audit benefits:

1. Home Energy Survey

A home energy survey is a visual inspection that doesn’t include the use of diagnostic testing equipment. Its purpose is to assess the general energy performance of an existing home including:

  • Building envelope features (windows, doors, insulation, ducts) and ages.
  • Heating, cooling and ventilation equipment types, characteristics and ages.
  • Appliance and lighting characteristics.
  • Comfort complaints.
  • Visible moisture issues.
  • Visible health and safety issues.

A RESNET Home Energy Survey Professional (HESP) will examine utility use and billing history to better understand potential opportunities for energy savings. A complete assessment (again, as part of the what is an energy audit question, an energy audit is also called an energy assessment) is provided, including basic recommendations for improving the home’s energy efficiency, as well as low-cost, do-it-yourself tasks. Also included is information on relevant utility-based programs to encourage the homeowner to take action. A home energy survey takes approximately one hour to complete.

2. General Energy Audit

A general energy audit is also known as an energy assessment, standard energy audit or detailed energy audit. It expands on the home energy survey by collecting more detailed information regarding the home’s energy usage, as well as a more thorough financial analysis of its energy costs.

The general energy audit also includes diagnostic testing using specialized equipment such as a blower door test, duct leakage tester, combustion analyzer and infrared camera. These tests are done to determine:

  • The location and number of air leaks in the building envelope.
  • How much leakage is occurring from HVAC distribution ducts.
  • How effective is the insulation inside walls and ceilings.
  • Any existing or potential combustion safety issues.

A home energy auditor such as a certified RESNET Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Rater will conduct a whole-house evaluation including a computer software analysis to identify and prioritize proposed treatments for improvement. This is followed by a detailed report providing suitable retrofit recommendations and specifications. The Home Energy Auditor can recommend suitable RESNET Qualified EnergySmart Contractors to the homeowner that can perform the work. A general energy audit takes 3-4 hours depending on the size of your home.

In addition to what is an energy audit, another common question is, “How much will it cost to get one?” Energy audits vary in price but can cost from $300 to $800 on average, depending on which type you get.

To get an energy audit, contact your local RESNET Home Energy Auditor or Home Energy Survey Professional.