The Home Energy Rating System (HERS™) is the industry standard to measure a home’s energy efficiency. It is a nationally recognized system for inspecting and calculating a home’s energy performance. In 2020, over 269,000 homes have been rated.
The testing is performed by third-party raters who conduct inspections to verify a home’s energy performance. A pre-construction HERS Index can be done based on the home’s design. The HERS Index Score can tell the homeowner how efficiently the home is expected to operation. This may allow for modifications to be made to achieve greater energy savings. This score also helps the homeowner anticipate the costs of energy bills and efficiency upgrades. The rater will later perform other tests including onsite inspections, a blower door test, and a duct test. These will generate a final HERS Index score for the home.
The U.S. Department of Energy has determined that a typical resale home scores 130 on the HERS Index while a standard new home is awarded a rating of 100. The lower a home rates, the more energy efficient it is. Therefore, a home rating of 70 on the HERS Index is 30% more efficient than a standard new home and a rating of 130 is 30% less efficient than a standard new home. A zero-energy home would have a HERS Index of 0.
The lower the HERS Index, the more energy efficient a home is, meaning lower energy costs for the homeowner. A low HERS Index adds long-term value and comfort to a home. As energy costs continue to climb, efforts to save on utility bills, increase home comfort and reduce the impact on the environment are now more important than ever.
Building with structural insulated panels from EPS can create a home that is extremely energy efficient. SIPs are proven to be as much as 15-times more air-tight and can save as much as 50% in energy costs compared to a standard stick-built home.
There are several benefits to having a new home energy rated:
Understand Whether a Home will be Energy Efficient or Not
The HERS Index Score functions as sort of the energy efficiency version of an MPG (miles-per-gallon) sticker for houses and tells homeowners how their homes compare to similar ones in terms of energy usage. During home planning and design, a pre-rating can be done to determine the potential for energy savings.
Calculate a More Accurate Cost of Homeownership
Many prospective homeowners will look primarily at prices and mortgage options when considering the financial cost of a home. Typically, energy costs are not part of the consideration. While many will assume the mortgage, payments make up the main cost of homeownership, when building a new home, the energy usage should also be factored into the cost. Without it, it is difficult to understand how much the home will cost to maintain and run, and whether it is affordable.
Improve Home Comfort and Reduce Energy Bills
Two things that impact homeowners directly are home comfort levels and energy bills. A drafty home, which is too cold in winter and too hot in summer, will also suffer from high energy bills. The U.S. Department of Energy says the typical family spends at least $2,200 per year on energy bills. Therefore, building a new home designed for high performance can create significant annual savings. Building with EPS structural insulated panels provides a tighter home envelope that reduces drafts and improves home comfort.
Enjoy a Higher Home Resale Value
Freddie Mac conducted an analysis to understand the value and the loan performance associated with energy-efficient homes to support the consideration of energy efficiency in mortgage underwriting. The paper covered the U.S. housing market and found an overall increase in sales price for a HERS rated home of 2.7% to 5%, depending on the rating.