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HERS (Home Energy Rating System) Index


Technology Snapshot & Benefits:
The HERS Index is a scoring system developed by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET). The index was developed as a part of the overall home energy rating system in order to develop a standard measurement of a home's energy efficiency and expected energy costs. The HERS Index is based on the measured energy efficiency performance of the standard (average) new home. This standard is demarcated as a 100 on the HERS Index, for every point above or below 100, the home is that many % less or more efficient than the same home built to code. For example a home with a HERS Index of 80 is 20% more efficient than its code-built counterpart. In other words, lower numbers are better (click to see scale). A HERS Index of 0 means it's a Net Zero Home (it produces as much energy as it uses each year). This index proves valuable when comparing homes of varying energy efficiency levels to a quantifiable standard measurement which allows for all homes to be compared on the same scale.


In order to generate a HERS Index score a rater will conduct onsite inspections, typically including an insulation inspection, a blower door test and a duct test amongst other analysis such as the use of specially designed software to analyze the expected energy use of the home. In addition to considering heating, cooling, and hot water, the HERS Index takes into account energy use for lighting and major appliances as well as renewable energy produced on site. Results from these tests, along with the data from the software analysis, are used to compile a final HERS Index score for the home.


Estimated Cost Savings:
The HERS Index is used as a current or predicted indication of a home's energy efficiency and expected energy costs. A home energy rating can qualify the home for programs such as Energy Star (requiring a score of 85 or lower) or help the home owner or buyer qualify for an energy efficient mortgage or an energy improvement mortgage. By having your home measured on the HERS Index an accurate and comparable snapshot of a home's performance can help the owner or buyer understand where their home's energy efficiency performance stands and what needs to be done to improve that performance. A good HERS Index score not only helps to improve the comfort and efficiency of your home, but it can also improve the resale value and allow you to communicate the efficiency level of your home to potential buyers.


Use caution when hiring a home energy rater. Hire a certified rater to conduct the rating and determine the HERS Index. A certified rater will have the proper training, knowhow, software, and tools to adequately evaluate the home and produce a quantifiable and reliable measurement of energy performance.


Regional Issues:
In some areas it may be more difficult to have a home energy rating conducted due to the volume of certified energy raters in your region. It is important to make sure that when a home energy rating is done that it is conducted in a manner which addresses regionally specific energy demands and supplies, as well as regional climate and site specific weatherization issues.


Installation (Getting It Done):
RESNET's website and your local utility provider are both good places to start when looking for professionals to conduct home energy ratings and determine your home's HERS Index score. Other resources to find certified home energy raters include the lists of approved affiliates found at both Energy Star, and EcoBroker. Hire a professional who knows your climate, knows what they're doing, and ideally, who has had a lot of hands on experience and has worked on many homes. 


More Information On This Topic:

Energy Star - The HERS Index

Energy Star - What is a HERS rating?

Energy Vanguard - Home Energy Rating Lingo

RESNET - What Is A Home Energy Rating?


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