Energy Star and HERS Ratings

Know Your Home's HERS Rating?

For more information about HERS Ratings, or to schedule a free phone consultation today.

Insight HERs index rating system

What is a HERS Index ?

A Home Energy Rating System (HERS) index is the nation’s leading equivalent to “miles-per-gallon” energy usage for homes.  Insight offers HERS ratings for homes throughout the Chicago and Northern Illinois areas.  This Home Energy Rating is a requirement for many green building and energy efficient building standard programs.  

A HERS rating assigns a home a score on a scale from 0-150. The higher numbers represent greater energy consumption; the lower numbers represent less energy consumption (a HERS index of 0 represents a “net-zero energy home,” which produces at least as much energy as it consumes).  A 2006 new home would receive a score of 100, while current new homes score ~67.  Most existing homes fall somewhere between 100 and 150.

What are the Benefits of a HERS Rating?

A HERS rating is a requirement for many green building and energy efficient building standards across the country, including ENERGY STAR for Homes, LEED, and NAHB Green.  A HERS rating is also a requirement for an Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) and/or an Energy Improvement Mortgage (EIM).  A low HERS index can also be a great way for builders, homeowners, and realtors to make their homes stand out and get top-dollar in a competitive real estate market.

A HERS index is an objective, measured representation of a home’s energy efficiency. Much as miles-per-gallon fuel efficiency ratings for automobiles play an important role in car-buyers’ decisions, a low HERS index is playing an equally important role in the home buying process across the country.

For more information about a HERS index, schedule a free phone consultation today!

The Department of Energy-DOE, Department of Housing and Urban Development-HUD, and the Environmental Protection Agency-EPA all recognize the HERS Index as the official standard for determining home energy performance.

How is a HERS index calculated?

A HERS index is awarded to a home after a rigorous audit with 3rd party oversight.  Insight’s certified HERS rater will come to your home, perform diagnostic testing, and record over 200 performance metrics including, but not limited to…

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View Sample HERs Index Report

When is a HERS index necessary?

A high performance, low HERS home may be desirable but is only required by particular new construction programs or energy efficient mortgage programs. 

New homes hoping to achieve high performance recognition will be designed and verified to a particular HERS index required by building energy codes, Energy Star Homes, Zero Energy Ready Homes, LEED for Homes, and NAHB Green homes.  The builder would work with a 3rd party certified HERS rater to ensure the home’s performance is as good as advertised.  The HERS index should be awarded to the specific home you are buying, not to a builder’s home model design.  

Existing homes are difficult to accurately rate for a HERS index since many important metrics are not available, like window specifications, wall insulation quality, below grade foundation and slab insulation.  If this information is available, if construction pictures exist, or if an extensive renovation is underway, a HERS index can be generated.

Since the introduction of HERS certification nearly three decades ago, more and more states have decided to recognize it for its many benefits.  It’s now a required part of building codes in a growing number of states.

home energy audit reading and results
Home energy savings being calculated

Energy Star and LEED: HERS on New Construction

Quality home builders participate in energy efficient home programs like the EPA’s Energy Star Homes or the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Homes.  A 3rd party HERS rater will verify the home was built to program standards and confirm the builder’s home is as good as they claim.

As a Builder, earning Energy Star certification for your homes is a great way to maximize the value of your homes and set them apart from typical code-compliant homes.  Insight has worked with numerous builders since 2013 to optimize the performance and efficiency of their new homes.  All builders build homes to Code requirements, but HERS rated homes are measurably better.

Energy Star homes are at least 10% more efficient than code-compliant homes and have fewer performance issues because HERS raters often find issues that have been missed by the trades and project managers.  Having a keen-eyed, experienced Insight HERS Rater involved with new home construction is an invaluable quality control contributor for the home builder and the future homeowners.

Reach out to Insight today to learn how new homes can be made better by building to a higher standard.  It doesn’t have to be frustrating, complicated, or expensive with Insight as your HERS Rater partner.