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Home Energy Ratings: How They Help Homeowners Stay Efficient

How efficient is your home? The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index gives an industry standard by which to measure the energy efficiency of a residential home. Based on definitions in the HERS standards and specifications that came from the 2004/2006 International Energy Conservation Code, the HERS rating provides a standard by which homeowners and home builders can gauge the efficiency of their homes. If your home has a home energy rating or you’re considering having your home’s efficiency evaluated, here’s what you need to know about it and what it means.

What HERS Measures

The HERS rating on a property is a measure of the home’s energy performance. It includes several factors, such as:

  • An assessment of the components that make up the building, such as the materials used to build it
  • Results of performance testing through a blower door and duct blaster
  • Energy modeling from an accredited software tool
  • Reports on the home’s energy efficiency

A combination of these factors is used to rate the energy efficiency of the home.

Understanding the HERS Index

The HERS Index is a great tool to evaluate efficiency. However, the HERS Index rating itself can be confusing if the homeowner doesn’t know exactly what it means. Is a home with a rating of 65 an efficient home or not?

The HERS Index rating compares the home’s energy performance to the performance of the same home if it was built to the exact specifications of the energy standard. It’s a linear scale where a home that meets the standard receives a rating of 100. A home that has a rating below 100 is more efficient than the standard, while one with a rating above 100 is less efficient. That means that a home with a 65 rating is an efficient home, because it’s 35 points more efficient than the standard.

On the HERS scale, each one-point change equals one percentage change in the energy efficiency. The home’s energy production counteracts energy use, so in theory, it’s possible for a home to have a HERS rating of 0 if it makes as much energy, through solar panels for example, as it uses. The closer your home’s rating is to 0, the better your home’s efficiency is.

How to Get a Home Energy Rating

If you’re curious about the efficiency of your home, you may wish to have your home analyzed and rated. This can give you great insight into areas where your home efficiency can be improved.

For a home energy evaluation, you need the services of a certified home energy rater. The rater will analyze your home’s efficiency, perform the necessary tests and determine how compliant the home is with current energy standards. This will show you areas where your home’s efficiency can be improved.

Improving the efficiency of your home does several things for you. Most obviously, it lowers your energy bills so you can enjoy living in your home more affordably. It also helps lower your carbon footprint, so you can be an environmentally responsible homeowner, and it may help you qualify for an energy efficient mortgage.

How to Use the Home Energy Rating

When you receive a home energy rating, you’ll get quite a bit of data about your home and its efficiency. While the rater should help you understand the data, it can be a bit overwhelming.

To start, take a look at the data to see where your home’s biggest areas of energy loss are. Many homes will have one or two areas where tremendous energy loss is seen, and other areas that are fairly efficient. Take measures to address these inefficient areas first as you work toward making your home more efficient. The data ensures you’re working on those areas where your home needs attention, instead of spending money on areas where your home is already fairly efficient.

If your Energy Rating indicates a needed improvement in your heating and cooling system, call One Source Heating & Cooling at (205) 509-1929.

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