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What is HERS Rating? - Energy Compliance Experts - MPDLA

Updated: Jan 17

What is a HERS Rating?

A Home Energy Rating System (HERS) rating is a measurement of a home's energy efficiency. It is calculated by a certified HERS rater who performs a series of tests and inspections on the home to evaluate its energy performance. The HERS rating system provides a score between 0 and 150, with lower scores indicating better energy efficiency.

A HERS rating of 0 means that the home produces as much energy as it consumes, while a HERS rating of 150 means that the home is not at all energy-efficient and consumes a lot of energy. ​ ​ The HERS rating system is used to determine a home's energy efficiency and identify areas for improvement. Homeowners can use the rating to make energy-efficient upgrades and lower their energy bills, while builders can use it to design and construct more energy-efficient homes. Additionally, some states and municipalities require a HERS rating as part of their energy code or building regulations.


Why is HERS Rating Important?

HERS ratings are important because they provide an objective measurement of a home's energy efficiency. The rating allows homeowners, homebuyers, builders, and real estate professionals to compare the energy efficiency of different homes and make informed decisions based on their energy costs and environmental impact. ​ There are several benefits to having a HERS rating:

  • Energy efficiency: The rating provides a detailed analysis of the home's energy performance, allowing homeowners and builders to identify areas for improvement and make energy-efficient upgrades.

  • Lower energy bills: By making energy-efficient upgrades based on the HERS rating, homeowners can save money on their energy bills over the lifetime of the home.

  • ​Environmental impact: Homes with higher HERS ratings use more energy and have a greater environmental impact than those with lower ratings. Improving a home's HERS rating can reduce the amount of energy consumed and lower its environmental impact.

  • Resale value: Homes with lower HERS ratings may have a higher resale value because they are more energy-efficient, and buyers are often willing to pay more for homes with lower energy costs.

​ ​ Overall, HERS ratings are an important tool for evaluating and improving the energy efficiency of homes, which can benefit homeowners, builders, and the environment.

What does a HERS Rater do?

A HERS rater is a trained and certified professional who performs a series of tests and inspections on a home to evaluate its energy efficiency. Here are some of the key tasks that a HERS rater typically performs: ​

  • Conduct a site visit: The rater will visit the home and collect data on its size, orientation, construction type, and other features that may affect energy efficiency.

  • Perform a blower door test: This test measures the air tightness of the home, which can affect energy efficiency and indoor air quality.

  • Conduct a duct leakage test: This test measures the efficiency of the home's heating and cooling system by evaluating how much air is lost through leaks in the ductwork.

  • Inspect insulation: The rater will inspect the home's insulation and evaluate its type, location, and effectiveness.

  • Evaluate windows and doors: The rater will inspect the windows and doors for air leaks and evaluate their energy efficiency.

  • Analyze lighting and appliances: The rater will evaluate the home's lighting and appliances for energy efficiency.

  • Provide a HERS rating: Based on the data collected during the inspection, the rater will calculate a HERS rating for the home, which provides a score between 0 and 150.

  • Provide recommendations: The rater will provide recommendations for energy-efficient upgrades that can improve the home's HERS rating.

​ Overall, the goal of a HERS rater is to provide a comprehensive evaluation of a home's energy efficiency and identify opportunities for improvement. This information can help homeowners and builders make informed decisions about energy-efficient upgrades that can save money on energy bills and reduce the home's environmental impact.

What are Field Verifications & Diagnostic Testing?

This section describes some procedures and requirements for HERS verification of energy efficiency features. HERS testing is performed by HERS Raters who are trained and certified to perform these services. The HERS Raters cannot be employees of the builder or contractor whose work they are verifying. Also, they cannot have a financial interest in the builder’s or contractor’s business, or advocate or recommend the use of any product or service that they are verifying. The training, quality assurance, and general oversight of the HERS Raters are conducted by HERS providers.

HERS verification is required only when certain regulated efficiency requirements or equipment features are installed. If such efficiency requirements or equipment features are not installed, then HERS verification is not required. For example, if a dwelling that must comply with the Energy Code does not have air distribution ducts, then HERS verification for duct leakage is not required for compliance. The following features require HERS verification:

  • Duct sealing

  • Duct location, surface area, and R-value

  • Low-leakage ducts entirely in conditioned space

  • Low-leakage air handlers

  • Verification of return duct design

  • Verification of air filter device design, filter MERV rating, and labeling

  • Verification of prescriptive bypass duct requirements

  • Refrigerant charge in ducted split-system and ducted packaged unit air conditioners and heat pumps, and mini-split system

  • Refrigerant fault indicator display (FID)

  • Verified system airflow

  • Air handler fan efficacy

  • Verified energy efficiency ratio (EER)

  • Verified seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER)

  • Heat pump-rated heating capacity

  • Evaporatively cooled condensers

  • Variable-capacity heat pump credit

  • Whole-house fan

  • Central fan ventilation cooling systems

  • Continuous whole-building mechanical ventilation airflow

  • Intermittent whole-building mechanical ventilation airflow

  • Kitchen exhaust (including vented range hoods)

  • Building envelope air leakage

  • Quality insulation installation (QII)

  • Quality insulation installation for spray polyurethane foam

  • Verified pipe insulation credit (PIC-H)

  • HRV/ERV system fan efficacy

  • Verified central parallel piping (PP-H)

  • Verified compact hot water distribution system expanded credit (CHWDS-H-EX)

  • Demand recirculation: manual control (R-DRmc-H)

  • Demand recirculation: sensor control (R-DRsc-H)

  • ​Multiple recirculation loop design for DHW systems serving multiple dwelling units

  • Verified drain water heat recovery system (DWHR-H)+


How much does a HERS Rating cost?

The cost of a HERS rating can vary depending on the size, location, and complexity of the home, as well as the specific services provided by the HERS rater. However, the cost of a HERS rating typically ranges from $300 to $800, with the national average around $500. ​ In addition to the initial HERS rating, some HERS raters offer additional services, such as energy modeling, which can provide a more detailed analysis of the home's energy performance and identify specific areas for improvement. These services may add to the overall cost of the rating. It's also important to note that some states and utilities offer incentives or rebates for homes that achieve a certain HERS rating or make energy-efficient upgrades based on the HERS rating. These incentives can help offset the cost of the rating and make it more affordable for homeowners. ​ ​ Overall, the cost of a HERS rating is a worthwhile investment for homeowners and builders who want to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and save money on energy bills over the long term.


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