A home's energy efficiency can be measured using the Home Energy Rating System or HERS. This index is developed by the Residential Energy Service Network (RESNET) for new homes, as well as existing houses.
The ratings can be used:
- By home buyers to compare the energy efficiency of new homes they are considering buying.
- With existing homes, homeowners can get a home energy audit to identify the best options for upgrading their home's energy efficiency.
There are lots of terms related to HERS including:
- HERS index – tells you how energy efficient your home is compared to the “American Standard Building” with an index of 100. The lower the value the better as zero means the house doesn't need to purchase energy, generating as much as it needs.
- HERS raters – are certified by RESNET by attending a HERS training course, complete 2 supervised training ratings and pass the RESNET National Rater exam. After completing the course, prospective raters must join a rating provider and complete 3 probationary ratings. Once certified, raters must submit their reviews to a provider for quality assurance, and attend 18 hours of approved education every 3 years.
Note: There are many different green home certification programs so make sure you know when it's appropriate to complete a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) audit.