01 Sep Buying a new home? Ask about the HERS® rating
Nearly 6.5 million homes were sold in 2020 in the United States. If you’re in the market for a new home, you’ve probably saved for a down payment and calculated your mortgage — but have you considered how the rising cost of energy will impact you?
Utility bills make up about 25% of the average American’s monthly housing expenses. Utilities like electricity, natural gas, and water are major expenses for homeowners, and unfortunately, these costs are expected to only go up from here.
The good news? Rising energy costs don’t have to keep you from moving into your dream home. Buying an energy efficient home helps you save on utility bills and it makes a positive difference for the environment.
When you’re looking for an energy efficient home, ask about the HERS® Index rating — the industry standard for measuring residential energy efficiency.
What is the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index?
The HERS Index measures a home’s energy efficiency. It was developed by Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET), a non-profit organization.
When a home gets HERS-rated, a certified Home Energy Rater performs a full energy efficiency inspection. The rater evaluates:
- Water heating
- Blower door air leakage
They analyze the information they collect with RESNET’s software modeling tool. Then, they compare the results of the data with a reference home that’s similar in size and shape to the home being rated.
This process gives them the home’s HERS rating, which represents its energy efficiency in a way that’s easy to understand.
What does a HERS rating tell you?
The HERS Index is a relative numerical scale, where 100 is the average energy performance of standard new construction homes.
HERS ratings below 100 are generally considered good, while having a HERS rating above 100 means the home isn’t as energy efficient as it could be. Since energy efficiency technology is constantly advancing, homes that aren’t new construction usually score around 130.
The home in this example has a HERS rating of 65. That means the home is about 35% more energy efficient than a standard new home of its size.
Remember that the lower the HERs rating, the better the home’s energy performance and the lower you can expect the utility costs to be.
Is getting a HERS rating worth it?
Asking about the HERS rating of a home you want to buy gives you valuable information about how energy efficient it is. Knowing the HERS rating can help you choose the best home for your family.
For example, a more expensive house with a lower HERS rating could end up being more cost effective (and better for the environment) than a cheaper house with a much higher HERS rating. Lower HERS ratings mean the home is more energy efficient, often saving you money in utility bills and maintenance as long as you live there.
If the home you’re looking at has a higher HERS rating, your RESNET inspector can recommend ways to improve energy efficiency and lower the cost of utilities, maintenance, and other expenses related to energy usage.
HERS ratings for sellers
If you’re interested in selling your existing home, getting a HERS rating could help you attract the right buyer. HERS rating is the industry standard for energy performance, and TSI Energy Solutions RESNET certified inspectors can assess your home to determine your HERS rating.
How is HERS different from Energy Star® certification?
If you’ve purchased a major appliance recently, you might have noticed Energy Star certification stickers while you shopped. Energy Star is a government organization dedicated to helping people understand energy efficiency and make better choices for the environment.
Along with appliances like furnaces and refrigerators, new construction homes can also be Energy Star certified. But how is it different from the HERS Index?
In order to be Energy Star certified, a new home must meet specific criteria on a few different checklists. That means the home is either Energy Star certified or it’s not.
The HERS Index gives homebuyers a way to comparison-shop. Any home can be HERS-rated, so you can directly compare the energy performance of multiple homes you’re considering purchasing.
Let TSI Energy Solutions help you make the right decision when you’re buying your next home. Contact our team to learn more about the HERS Index, residential energy inspections, and ways to make your home more energy efficient.