Top States for Sustainability & Energy Efficiency

Thu, 2015-03-05 11:02

Last month, the U.S. Green Building Council released its annual list of the top 10 states for LEED green building. The list looked at the overall square feet of LEED-certified buildings per state resident and then ranked the states accordingly. This week, the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) published a similar report relevant to the number of homes in the U.S. that were energy rated and issued a HERS score. So, looking from a commercial standpoint (LEED) and a residential standpoint (RESNET), let’s take a look at the best places for you to use your sustainability certification.

TOP STATES FOR LEED (and the # of projects LEED certified in 2014)

  1. Illinois (174)
  2. Colorado (102)
  3. Maryland (132)
  4. Virginia (150)
  5. Massachusetts (99)
  6. Hawaii (30)
  7. California (517)
  8. Georgia (87)
  9. Minnesota (39)
  10. Arizona (82) & New York (250)


TOP STATES FOR RESNET (and the # of homes energy rated in 2014)

  1. Texas (28,784)
  2. Florida (14,994)
  3. North Carolina (10,271)
  4. Colorado (8,315)
  5. Indiana (8,007)


There were 146,860 homes in the United States that were energy rated by certified RESNET HERS Raters and issued a HERS Index Score. According to the data from the U.S. Census Bureau, this represents over 33.8% of all new homes sold in the nation. The average HERS Score of the homes rated was 63.

RESNET Executive Director Steve Baden had a great quote summarizing these findings: "Homebuilders are increasingly seeing energy efficiency as a major selling point for buying a new home. To take advantage of this opportunity, builders across the nation are presenting their homes' energy performance in a way that every home buyer can understand, the home's HERS Index Score. I expect that this trend will continue. It is also encouraging that the average HERS Index Score was 63. This is 37% more efficient than homes built as recently as 2006 and 67% more efficient than a typical re-sale home."

2015 IECC Building Code to Allow for RESNET HERS Compliance PathThis is exciting news, indeed. If you’re keeping up with building code information, then you know that the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code actually has a RESNET compliance path, whereby builders can simply use the RESNET HERS Score to meet (or surpass) code. It will be interesting to see which states adopt the new 2015 IECC. I expect to see the top 5 states listed above as the leaders in doing so. To see which version of the IECC energy code that your state has adopted, visit The RESNET compliance path has been an option since the 2009 IECC. This relationship, however, just keeps getting closer. The International Code Council recently partnered with RESNET to allow HERS Raters to become energy code inspectors as well. The IECC code is a major driver for home performance professionals seeking a RESNET or BPI certification. Practitioners working in states that have adopted the 2009 or 2012 IECC recently became aware of the duct leakage verification testing requirement therein. As a result, we’ve also seen a massive increase in the BPI Infiltration & Duct Leakage Certification. In short, energy efficiency is everywhere!

Big News for DOE Home Energy Score

It was also announced this week that the U.S. Department of Energy will now recognize NATE Certification as well as the BPI Building Science Principles Certificate of Knowledge as a qualifying credential to become a Home Energy Score Assessor. Just like how RESNET has its HERS Index for rating home energy efficiency, the DOE has worked with the Building Performance Institute (BPI) to develop a home rating system, called Home Energy Score. It has not been released as to which locations have or will adopt the Home Energy Score, but it stands to reason that energy efficiency is becoming more of a common practice nationwide given all of the options for pursuing it.

Speaking of which, this brings us to our last current event for March 2-5 (so far!)…

New DSIRE Website

DSIRE Database of State Incentives for Renewables and EfficiencyOur partners at the NC Clean Energy Technology Center have launched a new website for state incentives and rebate programs. DSIRE, or the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, is the most comprehensive source of information related to policies and incentives that support the nation’s use of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. So if you’re living in a state that hasn’t yet been mentioned in this post, then you should definitely check out DSIRE’s website to see what types of incentive programs are available in your area!!

What’s great about the DSIRE website is that you are able to filter through relevant policies and incentive programs by simply entering in your zip code. You can sort through nearly 2,800 active policies and incentives by applying various filters to search results. I’m most excited about the ability to subscribe to specific policies and incentives to know when and how they have changed. This industry grows and evolves so quickly that it’s hard to keep up with all the different policies and incentives in your area - never mind the entire country! I give major credit to the NC Clean Energy Technology Center for having the patience and dedication to keep up with all the moving parts nationwide. The DSIRE website is an incredibly valuable tool, and I’m really excited about all the updates! In fact, there will be a free webinar on March 12 at 2 pm EST to learn more about DSIRE and to see a live demonstration of the new website.

As you can see, sustainability and energy efficiency are industries that are truly growing nationwide, both from a commercial standpoint and a residential standpoint. Thankfully, Everblue has training for you available in each of these locations! We've trained over 16,000 building professionals and helped them earn their LEED Accreditation or to become a certified RESNET HERS Rater. Join us at any of our live classroom training courses (or online!) to become part of this thriving industry. Get started today! View our course locations here.

By Lesley Cowie