Monday, May 27, 2013

What's HERS and why is important to your home?

“HERS,” usually a word we use as a pronoun, is a prominent acronym in the green home world. HERS stands for Home Energy Rating System, a scoring system where a score of 0 represents a net zero energy home and score of 100 represents a standard code minimum new home. A HERS score is essentially the miles per gallon of your home. Most existing homes have a HERS score around 130 or more. Each point is a 1% difference in energy consumption from the new home baseline, so most existing homes are 30% less energy efficient than new homes. A score of 70-80 is not hard to achieve, so that means your new home could easily be up to 50% more energy efficient than your existing home! The difference would show in your energy bills. BuildSense homes typically have a HERS score of somewhere from 50-70 based on our clients choices. A typical BuildSense home of 2000 square feet has average monthly energy bills of less than $70. Where do your energy bills stand?

A HERS Rater will usually determine the score of a home using the plans, a software program called REM/Rate, and a few diagnostic tests. REM/Rate is an energy analysis program that calculates the energy consumption and costs of a home. A test called duct blasting uses pressure to determine any air leakage in the duct system and a blower door test helps identify air filtration issues of the house. The Rater will use all this information to form the HERS score. As more homes are scored, HERS will be an important part of directly comparing homes.

A HERS score is a basic requirement of most green building certifications. BuildSense’s corporate commitment is certify all homes by both the National Green Building Standard and ENERGY STAR. Besides using the HERS, a quality builder utilizing the National Green Building Standard will assure that the other systems in your home are coordinated with the air tightness and limited energy use to ensure you have a healthy and comfortable indoor environment, limit use of additional resources, and reduce the demand for long term home maintenance.

You should insist on a HERS score if you are looking at purchasing a home. In the coming years it will likely be a requirement in the real estate industry in order to clearly understand the costs associated with ownership of a particular home.

HERS Index Chart
A blower door test pressurizes your home to reveal how much air is "leaking" through the various "cracks" and "holes" in your home.
A duct blast test pressurizes your duct work to reveal if it is "leaking"and providing conditioned air to areas like your attic or crawlspace.

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