HERS Index Rating: Know your numbers when shopping for a new home

Man angry at bills he needs to pay

When shopping around for “mayor” products, it is always a good idea and practice to review the numbers and benchmarks. We are very accustomed to checking mpg when buying a vehicle, something that for some of us is decisive, because not many of us want to burn away our hard earned cash in the daily commute to work, right? 

Then there’s cellphones: quad core, octa-core, gigabytes, megapixels, battery life, it’s a huge menu of numbers to take into account, yet we jump right in and compare numbers.

But what about new homes? Sure, we ask for price, size and number of bedrooms and baths, which are of course fundamental; but, how about the cost of ownership? Is there a way to predict how efficient a home is? The answer is YES… the HERS Score! and it’s something everyone looking to buy a new home should take into consideration when shopping around for a new home, specially in a place like El Paso, where the weather is always against us. 

What is this magic number?

In our previous blog post we touched a little on this topic, but what is this magic number and how can we make sense out of it?

HERS, stands for Home Energy Rating System. It launched in 2006 attending the need to have a way to measure new homes’ efficiency and give buyers a way to compare between homes they are thinking of buying.  It’s a simple, easy to understand index, based on a 100 point scale, where the lower the score, the higher the performance of the home. So a home with a score of 60 is 40% more efficient than a home without any efficiency features, and a home with a score of 130 is 30% less efficient. This index takes into account everything in and outside the home, insulation, power load, water load, air tightness, etc. and assigns the score of the home. 

Each home has a posted HERS score that is given by certified raters which are recognized by federal government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. mortgage industry.

So, each builder decides it's own number?

HERS was developed by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) a non profit organization, and established a strict process in which 3rd party raters are the only ones certified to assign HERS scores. These certified raters are recognized by federal government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Mortgage Industry, and is by far the most accepted standard in energy efficiency. 

Great, where do I see the number?

ICON Custom Builder, has the HERS rating in all of their available homes on line and in each home to make it easy for home buyers to know exactly what they can expect but you can use RESNET’s  reliable search engine to look up the address of the home you are looking to buy and find out the assigned score, or if it isn’t scored at all (which isn’t very promising).  

Performance and efficiency = more bucks in your pocket

So, all of this sounds very interesting, but you might be thinking: so what? 

Well this is a direct ration between efficiency and savings. A 40% more efficient home will provide a 40% savings in your utilities. That’s keeping money in your pocket! think of it as a way that you are saving money each month, and something that you as a home buyer need to factor in when calculating your cost of ownership.

On the other hand, HERS rated homes tend to have a higher resale value, so it will also provide more money in your pockets if you decide to sell. 

ICON is committed with efficiency and quality

From the very beginning of every build, ICON has the highest standards and invests in the most advanced technology and the highest quality materials to ensure all our homes are the most efficient possible. 

On our available homes you can click on the actual score label to learn more about HERS and how it can help you save money in the long run. After all, an efficient house is more comfortable, healthier and costs less to operate. Savvy consumers and home buyers should inquire about the HERS score of every home.  


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RESNET Energy smart builder

ICON Home Custom Builder is proud to be a RESNET Energy Smart Builder and is committed to increasing the energy performance of the custom homes we build..

Outside of a mortgage loan, the highest cost of homeownership is energy. That’s why smart homebuyers ask for a home’s HERS Index Score to determine its energy efficiency before buying. The HERS Index Score is like an MPG (miles-per-gallon) sticker for homes. After all, it makes sense to know the energy performance of a home before making the investment.

Visit Hersindex.com for more information.

Some answers that will help you in the process

With home energy costs skyrocketing, it only makes sense to find out how energy efficient a home really is. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that a home built to the 2004 International Energy Conservation Code uses 30% less energy than older homes. Many builders today are building homes that use 70% less energy than existing ones.

A home built to the 2004 International Energy Conservation Code is awarded a rating of 100 on the HERS Index. This is taken as the RESNET Reference Home. The lower a home rates, the more energy efficient it is. Therefore, a home with a rating of 70 on the HERS Index is 30% more efficient than the RESNET Reference Home. A rating of 130, however, is 30% less efficient than the RESNET Reference Home.

The RESNET HERS Index is the industry standard by which a home’s energy efficiency is measured. The HERS or Home Energy Rating System was developed by RESNET and is the nationally recognized system for inspecting, testing and calculating a home’s energy performance. Certified RESNET Home Energy Raters conduct inspections to verify a home’s energy efficiency and recommend improvements that can be made to increase it.