How to Conduct HERS Tests to Reduce Energy Consumption

HERS is a home energy rating system developed by RESNET (Residential Energy Services Network) and introduced in 2006. The system is used to rate the energy efficiency of homes. Homes that are more energy efficient have a lower HERS score. The score is based on the home’s size, insulation, windows, and other factors. A home with a HERS score of 100 would be considered average in terms of energy efficiency. A home with a lower score would be considered more efficient, while a higher score would indicate less efficiency.

Builders and homeowners use HERS scores to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. By making improvements to a home’s insulation, windows, and other factors, builders and homeowners can lower the home’s HERS score. This can save money on utility bills and make the home more comfortable.

There are many benefits to having a lower HERS score. Not only can it save money on utility bills, but it can also make the home more comfortable to live in. In addition, it can help reduce your carbon footprint and help protect the environment.

What is HERS testing?

HERS testing is a comprehensive assessment of a home’s energy efficiency. The test is conducted by a certified HERS rater, who inspects the home and evaluates its different features. The test takes between two to four hours, and the home is given a score on a scale from 0 to 250. This score indicates how energy efficient the home is and whether it meets all state standards for energy efficiency.

What is HERS rating?

To get a HERS rating, a home must undergo testing by a certified RESNET Home Energy Rater. The rater will perform a series of tests to determine the home’s energy efficiency, including examining the insulation, windows, and heating and cooling systems. Once the testing is complete, the rater will provide a report with the home’s HERS Index score.

HERS ratings are becoming increasingly important as more and more buyers are looking for homes that are energy efficient. A lower HERS score can mean lower utility bills and a smaller carbon footprint, both appealing to many buyers. If you’re selling your home, getting a HERS rating can help it stand out from the competition. And if you’re planning to make improvements to your home to make it more energy efficient, knowing its HERS score can help you target specific areas for improvement.

When Is Hers Testing Required?

HERS testing is required for all new construction homes. The system assigns a HERS Index Score to a home, gauging its energy efficiency compared to other homes. A lower score indicates a more energy-efficient home.

HERS scores are calculated by considering a house’s energy performance considering factors such as building shell, duct work, space conditioning and water heating systems, and appliances.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) reference home — which has been established as having a HERS Index Score of 100 — is used as the baseline against which other homes are measured (i.e., it would take 10 million Btu annually to heat and cool the DOE reference home). According to RESNET (formerly known as the Residential Energy Services Network), “on average, a typical new U.S. home built in 2013 uses about 21% more energy than the reference home due in part to larger size and increased use of air conditioning.”

In contrast, however, an older home that has been retrofitted with energy-efficient improvements can have a HERS score that is less than 100.

HERS Tests

HERS Inspection 

A home energy rating comprehensively evaluates a house’s energy efficiency. The Home Energy Rating System, or HERS, was developed by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) in 2006 as a standard way to rate and compare the energy performance of homes.

A HERS inspection includes thoroughly analyzing the home’s envelope – walls, windows, doors, roof, etc. – and its heating and cooling systems. The inspector also looks at the home’s insulation levels and windows to determine how well the house is sealed against outside air. All this information is used to generate a HERS score, which is then used to calculate the estimated annual energy costs for that particular home.

HERS scores range from 0-100, with 0 being a perfect score (a zero-energy home) and 100 being a typical new construction home. Most existing homes fall somewhere in between these two extremes. A lower HERS score indicates a more efficient home that will cost less to operate than a higher-scoring one.

If you’re thinking about making some energy-efficiency improvements to your home, it can be helpful to get a HERS inspection first. This will give you an idea of where your house stands regarding energy efficiency and how much potential there is for improvement. It can also help you prioritize different upgrades based on their potential cost savings.

HERS Testing HVAC provides Home Energy Rating System (HERS) testing for HVAC contractors. The process is simple: the contractor schedules an appointment with a HERS rater, who will come to the job site and test the system. After the test, the contractor receives a report that includes the HERS score of the system, as well as advice on how to improve it.

HERS testing is important for two reasons.

  • First, it ensures that the contractor provides their customers with quality systems that meet or exceed industry standards.
  • Second, it provides valuable feedback that can help the contractor improve their business and better serve their customers.


HERS Verification

The process of confirming that a house satisfies or exceeds the requirements set out by the Home Energy Rating System is known as HERS Verification. A review of the home’s building records is done together with an on-site examination and testing of the energy systems and features.

The HERS standard is used by lenders, insurers, and other interested parties to determine a home’s energy efficiency. A HERS score below 100 indicates that the home is more energy efficient than a typical new home, whereas a score above 100 indicates less energy efficient.

A certified HERS Rater must complete the verification process to issue a HERS Score. The rater will first conduct an on-site inspection of the property to assess its compliance with the requirements set forth by the system. Next, they will review all applicable construction documents for accuracy. Finally, they will test various aspects of the property’s energy systems to verify their proper function and efficiency levels.

There are two types of HERS verifications: field verification and laboratory verification. Field verifications are conducted on-site at homes, while laboratory verifications are conducted in a controlled environment.

Field verification is the most crucial type of HERS verification, as it allows for real-world testing of the system. This verification is essential to ensure the system performs accurately in all weather conditions and environments.

Laboratory verifications are also necessary, allowing for more controlled system testing. This type of verification helps to identify any potential errors or inaccuracies in the system.

What are the benefits of a HERS rating?

There are many benefits to having a HERS rating, whether you are a homebuyer or homeowner. A HERS rating can give you insight into how energy efficient your home is and how it compares to other homes on the market. It can also help you make informed decisions about energy-efficient improvements to your home.

In addition, a HERS rating can be used as an official verification of home energy performance by the US Department of Energy (DOE), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Knowing the HERS Index score of a home, you are considering purchasing as a homebuyer can help you compare its relative energy efficiency to other homes on the market. It can also give you negotiation power when making an offer on a home, as you will have information about potential monthly savings on utility bills. Suppose you are interested in purchasing a newly constructed home. In that case, builders may use the HERS Index score as part of their marketing efforts to highlight the energy efficiency of their homes.

As a homeowner, having a HERS rating can help you identify areas where your house is losing energy and money. Armed with this information, you can make targeted improvements that will increase your home’s comfort level while saving you money on utility bills each month. In some cases, these improvements may even increase your home’s resale value should you decide to sell in the future.

How is a HERS rating calculated?

After the HERS rater completes their testing, they will input all the data into a computer program to calculate your home’s HERS rating. The results are usually available within a few days.

A HERS rating can range from 0-100, with 100 being a perfectly energy-efficient home and 0 being a very inefficient home. The average score for new homes built in the U.S. is around 50-60.

Having a low HERS score is good because it means your home uses less energy than most homes, so you’ll save money on your energy bills each month. It’s also good for the environment because using less energy reduces our reliance on fossil fuels and helps reduce pollution levels.

What to expect during HERS testing

As part of the home energy rating system (HERS) process, your home will undergo a series of tests to determine its energy efficiency. A HERS rater will visit your home and perform many tests, including a blower door test and duct leakage test.

The blower door test is used to determine the airtightness of your home. The rater will use a unique device called a blower door to depressurize your home and measure the number of air leaks. The blower door test results will be used to calculate the air changes per hour (ACH) for your home.

The duct leakage test measures the amount of air that leaks from your home’s ductwork. To do this, the rater will first seal all openings in your ductwork. Then, using a specialized machine, they will pressurize your ducts and measure the amount of air that escapes. The results of the duct leakage test will be used to calculate the leakiness of your ductwork.

Both the blower door test and duct leakage test are important measures of your home’s energy efficiency. Together, they can help you understand where your home is leaking energy and what improvements can be made to increase its efficiency.

When is HERS testing necessary?

HERS testing is usually necessary when a home is built, sold, or undergoes significant renovations. The test measures the home’s energy efficiency and gives it a HERS Index score. A lower score means the home is more energy efficient.

You might want to get a HERS test done on your home for several reasons. Potential buyers will be interested in its energy efficiency if you’re selling your home. If you’re planning to make significant renovations, HERS testing can help you understand how those changes will impact your home’s energy use. And if you’re building a new home, getting a HERS test can help ensure that it meets your energy efficiency goals.

HERS testing is an important way to measure your home’s energy efficiency. Whether selling your home, making major renovations, or building a new one, HERS testing can give you valuable information about your home’s energy use.

HERS testing and home warranties

Home Energy Rating Systems (HERS) are nationally recognized systems for certifying homes’ energy efficiency. A home with a HERS score of 100 is considered a standard, code-built home. The lower the score, the more efficient the home is relative to that standard.

For new construction, builders can have their homes HERS tested and receive a rating certificate from a certified HERS rater. By having this information readily available, potential buyers can know exactly how energy efficient the home is and make an informed decision about whether or not it meets their needs.

In addition to new construction homes, existing homes can also be HERS rated. This is beneficial for homeowners looking to make energy efficiency improvements to their homes and who want to know exactly how much of an impact those improvements will have on their overall energy usage.

If you’re in the market for a new home or looking to improve the energy efficiency of your current home, be sure to ask about HERS ratings and consider getting your home tested.

How to Conduct HERS Tests to Reduce Energy Consumption

Home Energy Rating System (HERS) FAQ

What is a HERS index?

The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index is a nationally recognized system for measuring a home’s energy efficiency and carbon footprint. The lower the HERS score, the more energy efficient and “green” the home is.

How does the HERS rating work? 

The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) is the residential energy industry’s standard method for measuring and verifying a home’s energy efficiency level. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes HERS as “the most accurate way to measure a new or existing home’s energy performance.” A HERS score of 100 corresponds with a net zero energy home, while the national average score is 130. The lower the score, the more energy efficient the home.

How is a HERS score determined? 

A certified HERS rater uses special diagnostic equipment to conduct two types of tests on a home: a blower door test to determine its airtightness and infrared scanning to identify areas where heat may be escaping from the house. The rater also reviews information about a house’s insulation levels, windows, doors, ductwork, space-conditioning system and water-heating system provided by its builder or owner.

Using this data, a computer model of the home is created that calculates how much heating and cooling it would need to function at temperature and humidity levels that are considered to be typical across the country.

The next step is to calculate the amount of renewable energy that photovoltaic panels installed on the property would generate using local climate data along with factors unique to each property, such as building orientation and shadowing.

The software then creates a number—the Home Energy Rating Score—between 1 and 100 that acts as an energy performance meter for that specific residence after all of this data has been gathered and entered into the model.

Why should I care about my home’s HERS score?

There are many reasons why you might want to know your home’s HERS score. If you’re planning on selling your house, potential buyers will be interested in its energy efficiency.

A low HERS score can also help you qualify for specific government incentives, like tax breaks or rebates on energy-efficient appliances. And, of course, if you’re concerned about saving money on your utility bills or reducing your carbon footprint, knowing your home’s HERS score can help you pinpoint which areas need improvement.

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