While petroleum costs have experienced a recent lull in price increases, electrical energy costs rise almost every year. Especially for older properties, an energy bill can be a substantial monthly cost. While improvements such as additional insulation, updated heating system, and even internet-enabled thermostats can control costs, it’s convenient to have a way to compare home energy performance across the board. That’s where the HERS Index, created by RESNET, comes in.

The HERS (Home Energy Rating System) Index is designed to offer homebuyers and sellers a universal system of ranking the energy performance of their properties. The Index offers a more holistic view of how one home’s energy usage compares to other homes across the country. A certified RESNET Home Energy Rater evaluates the home’s current energy usage as well as areas of potential improvement. The evaluation is based on identifying areas of strength and weakness, and this information is then evaluated using the RESNET-developed ranking system.

The HERS Index runs from 150 to 0, with higher numbers meaning lower energy efficiency. At a ranking of 150 on the Index, a home would be considered 50% less energy efficient than the average home. Not only would a home with such a high ranking be considered uncomfortable but also environmentally and financially damaging. A home with a ranking of 100 is considered ‘average,’ as it consumes an average amount of energy as other recently built homes. Moving closer to an index of 0 translates to staggered increases in energy efficiency. An Index of 50 is considered a very strong score, as such a home would be considered 50% more efficient than a recently built home and 80% more efficient than resale home. At a rank of 0, a home would be considered ‘energy neutral,’ meaning such a property would produce as much energy as it consumes. This would require a comparably large investment in technology such as electric solar panels or solar water heaters, but the return in energy savings would be incredibly high.

So what does a good HERS Index translate to? Firstly, it is considered an effective way to boost the value of a home. Homebuyers who anticipate utility costs will be impressed with a lower HERS score. Further, a high HERS Index can serve as a warning for homeowners to make important improvements on their heating systems, insulation, and more. Regardless of whether a homeowner is looking to save energy costs today or sell his or her home tomorrow, a HERS evaluation by RESNET can steer one in the right direction.

Our partner builders at RJ Thieneman value high quality craftsmanship, and this is reflected in the attention we pay to creating sustainable properties. The majority of our newly built custom homes have highly efficient and plant-based insulation, and everything from window placement to thermostats are considered when optimizing energy consumption.