The Rise of HERS Scores in Homebuilding

Last Updated:
Thu, 2014-08-14 14:56
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RESNET, or the Residential Energy Services Network, was founded in 1995. The concept grew out of a commitment to developing national standards for home energy auditing and home energy ratings.

Around the same time, the Building Performance Institute (BPI) was created. BPI also had a focus on home energy auditing. Until recently, BPI was not focused on home energy ratings. It is this piece that has helped RESNET climb to popularity.

What is a Home Energy Rating?

A home energy rating is a score given to a home that illustrates the relative energy use compared to that of a standard home. The score is based on measurements of the home, diagnostic tests performed inside and outside, and other evaluations of airflow in the home. A home energy rating is a quick and easy way of knowing how energy efficient a home is.

Because the HERS score is generally easy to interpret, many programs across the country started to incorporate the score as a requirement. The ENERGY STAR Certified Homes Program is the most well known of these programs. This program certifies houses that were built to a standard that is 15% better than the minimum building code. In other words, if the standard home has a HERS score of 100, an ENERGY STAR-certified home would have to have a HERS score of 85 or better.

The 2015 building code may use the RESNET HERS ScoreBuilding codes have also facilitated the rise of RESNET. The International Code Council (ICC) actually partnered with RESNET to allow for the HERS score to be used as a compliance path. The ICC launches a national model energy code, called the International Energy Conservation Code, every three years. State and local governments may choose which version of the code they want to adopt. When they choose, homebuilders must comply with the guidelines found within. In areas where the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code gets adopted, the standard home will need to have a HERS score around 50 to comply. The ultimate goal is to build standard homes with a HERS score of 0 by 2030. We’ve already made vast improvements in the last eight years. We’re basically halfway there.

Who is Using the HERS Score?

The HERS score is a valuable tool for homebuilders. Having been tasked with improving residential energy efficiency to unprecedented levels, homebuilders are increasingly becoming RESNET certified so they can understand the HERS standard and produce HERS scores.

Homebuilders use the RESNET HERS ScoreWith this in mind, RESNET developed a program called EnergySmart Builders. RESNET EnergySmart Builders have made a commitment to rating all of their homes using the HERS system and then marketing the HERS scores. So far, over 300 homebuilding companies have joined the movement. Some of these companies include Beazer Homes, Centex, KB Home, Lennar, and Ryan Homes.

If you’re working in home construction, there’s a good chance that you’re going to see a reference to RESNET or HERS everywhere you look! Get on board and learn how you can participate in these programs. Earn your RESNET certification today!

By Lesley Cowie