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HERS Ratings – just what is the score?

If you have been shopping for a new home you have probably had at least one builder bring up the subject of HERS Ratings and how their home stacks up against the HERS Rating Index.  What is a HERS Rating?  HERS stands for HOME ENERGY RATING SYSTEM and it is a measurement of a homes’ energy efficiency.  The Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) has been assigned the responsibility for creating and maintaining the rating standards.  Any home can be rated and receive a HERS Rating.  There are home raters that are certified by RESNET and they, given the details on a home, can determine the homes Energy Rating.

On average an existing home will receive an Energy Rating of around 130 whereas a newly built home, given the energy efficiency requirements included  in the building code will receive an Energy Rating of around 100.  The lower the rating the more energy efficient a home is.  The difference would show that the existing home is thirty percent LESS efficient than atypical new home.  Depending on how old it is and how it’s constructed, an existing home may receive a rating of 200 which would indicate it would consume twice as much energy as a typical new home of the same size. 

On the other side of the coin a new home with a HERS Rating of 70 would be 30% MORE efficient than a typical new home of the same size.  This given consumers the chance to compare builders, and model designs much like they do with car mileage estimates.  The lower the Rating the closer the home is to becoming a Zero Net Energy House.  It should be noted however that a HERS Rating is not a predictor of what your energy bill will be.  Unlike the car mileage estimates where a Sub Compact with a mileage rating of 19 MPG and a Half Ton Pickup with a rating of 19 MPG  can be assumed to consume the same amount of Gas for the miles driven, it doesn’t work that way with Housing.  A large home with a HERS Rating of 70 can use more energy than a small home with a HERS Rating of 100 so keep size in mind when making comparisons.

In general the HERS RATING SYSTEM is an easy to understand system that allows the customer to see and compare.  As more and more builders adapt to using and marketing the ratings the customer will be able to make a conscious and informed decision when purchasing a home.   Maronda Homes in the process of converting our homes to an EnergySmart program with HERS Scores released beginning in 2013.   

About Tom Greenawalt

Tom is a Licensed Builder in the State of Florida. He has been in the construction industry for 35 years building new homes in Pittsburgh, Washington DC, and Chicago before moving to Central Florida. The majority of Tom's career has on detached housing for entry level and first time move up buyers. He was with Maronda Homes for over 15 years.

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