A home energy rating is an analysis of a home’s energy efficiency; as per the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index. The HERS Index is the nationally recognized scoring system for measuring a home’s energy performance. Based on the results, an energy-rated home will receive a HERS Index Score. The HERS Index Score can be described as a sort of miles-per-gallon (MPG) sticker for houses, giving prospective buyers and homeowners an insight as to how the home ranks in terms of energy efficiency. In addition to a HERS Index Score, a home energy rating can also provide the homeowner with a detailed report regarding energy systems and performance of the house.
More and more green building programs and code officials look to the HERS score as a metric for comparing energy usage in new homes.
The steps to obtaining a HERS Score for new construction are:
1. Energy modeling. Using computer software to model the prospective home from detailed plans, allows builders and designers to see how different building techniques, designs, materials and even alternative energy systems will affect energy usage and then choose the right mix to achieve the best results. By using energy modeling to evaluate how different designs and components will affect the energy use of the home BEFORE anything is built, costly changes in the field can be minimized.
2. Inspections. A minimum of two site inspections ensure that the systems and materials that were planned to be installed actually WERE installed. Any changes discovered during the field inspections are then reflected in the energy model.
3. Testing. Finally, once the home is completed, the HERS analysis is completed using testing equipment to measure actual performance of things like air infiltration, duct leakage and ventilation.