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FAQs about HERS ratings

Updated: Jun 12, 2019

What is a HERS rating?


A HERS rating is a score given to homes based on a detailed energy model and then multiple quality assurance checks done during the building process. HERS stands for Home Energy Rating System, and is overseen by RESNET.


What is a good HERS score?


HERS scores are like golf scores, so the lower the number the better the score. A home built to code standards would score in the mid to high 90s (theoretically it should score 100). An older resale home would be expected to score around 130.


Are HERS ratings only for new construction?


No, technically a HERS rating can be done on existing homes. It becomes more complicated because the inspector won't be able to see everything he needs to inspect. If it can't be seen then he has to "assume" a lower scoring product/standard/condition. So HERS ratings should be done on new homes, but can also be done on existing houses.


How much does a HERS rating cost?


You should expect to pay around $900 for a HERS rating on your home. There are a lot of factors that may affect this, such as the size of the house, but that's the right ballpark.


Why should builders care about HERS?


HERS ratings are a great tool for builders.

  1. It gives you a tangible score which you can use to prove to future prospects that you build very high quality homes.

  2. You will actually be able to get real data on which of your subcontractors are doing great work and which are cutting corners through the quality assurance checks, .

  3. The energy model is a great tool that can show you the value of different upgrades and different products, ultimately saving you money on purchases. Which house wrap is better? What sized HVAC do I need? What if we swapped these windows? All that can be tested.

Why should home buyers care about HERS?


A HERS rating is a lot like a miles per gallon rating. You know all the data and figures on cars you buy, right? A house costs somewhere around 5-40 times as much as a car...wouldn't you like to have some real, proven numbers so you know you're getting a good home?


Better HERS ratings (lower scores) are associated with less home maintenance requirements as well as lower utility bills. In general, a tighter home also has less allergens in it, which means a lower risk for asthma attacks and other respiratory issues.


Why don't existing homes get HERS ratings?


You absolutely could get a HERS rating on your current home. The downside is, anything that can't be actually seen or assessed by the rater has to be scored as the lowest score for that category. Said more simply: if the rater can't see the insulation, they have to rate the insulation as poorly installed.


So basically your home just won't get a super great score. It still could score quite well. But really, the only time it would be worth doing is if you are doing a major renovation.


Are these savings year over year?


Yes, absolutely. A more efficient home will save money and energy year over year. The projected savings can't be guaranteed year over year because there is so much that goes into that (energy rates, your energy use, etc), but they are a good planning factor, and you will certainly save money each year.

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