Communicating HERS Ratings to a Homeowner

Many homeowners are becoming more informed about the benefits of an energy-efficient home and even consider it an important factor when purchasing a new home. While homeowners still place a huge emphasis on details like kitchen finishes and square footage, they are becoming savvy to the fact that some homes are simply built more energy efficiently than others-which can, in turn, have a direct effect on heating and cooling bills.

With the internet at their fingertips, homeowners are more empowered than ever to research the standards that are in place for measuring a home's energy efficiency. With these savvy homebuyers in mind, many builders are now marketing the HERS (Home Energy Rating System) Index to the homeowner as an important variable when considering the overall home value. Though not all end buyers may fully understand the HERS Index, it's important to explain how a lower performance score indicates a more energy-efficient home.

RESNET, the certified third-party organization that developed the HERS Index system introduced a HERS score of 100 based on building a home to the prescriptive standards within the 2006 IECC (Energy Code). As most states have adopted more recent, stringent versions of the energy code (which is updated every 3 years), most new homes that are rated will typically have a score of less than 100. The Energy Rating Index (ERI) option was first introduced into the 2015 energy code with required scores in the low to mid 50s, dependent of climate zone. While a homeowner may not need to know the technical history of energy codes, it may be helpful to explain that if a home had a HERS score of 60 it would mean that it would consume 40 % less energy than if it were built to the prescriptive standards from the 2006 energy code. 

As a builder, you should especially tout the HERS rating in your marketing materials if the score of the homes you build is lower than the industry standard.

One Texas builder, Shaddock Homes, dedicates a section of their website to educating the homeowner on the HERS Index and even lists the products they use, such as LP® TechShield® Radiant Barrier, to achieve a lower score.

Whether your customers are already knowledgeable about the HERS Index or are entirely new to the rating system, builders should consider incorporating it as an important part of their communications to their customers.

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