What is a HERS Rating?
The (H)ome (E)nergy (R)ating (S)ystem aka Field Verification and Diagnostic Testing, is a way to ensure that the various features of a home meet Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Energy Code). While looking at the home as a system, a rater performs field verification and diagnostic testing on various components such as the thermal envelope, (insulation and air sealing) and mechanicals which includes heating, cooling, ventilation, appliances, and lighting. If the home fails to achieve the minimum HERS Rating score, the contractor is required to fix it before a Certificate of Occupancy can be issued.
When Are HERS Ratings Required?
- Most cities and towns in Massachusetts require a HERS Rating for all new homes or major remodels.
- Rhode Island currently has no HERS requirements. However, many builders take advantage of the no-cost RNC (Residential New Construction) Program offered by the utility provider. This Program offers energy modeling, field verification, diagnostic testing and documentation at no-cost.
What Does A HERS Rater DO?
- Working with the owner, a HERS Rater will analyze building plans before construction begins and if needed, suggest a combination of components to help ensure a passing grade.
- Provide field verification midway through the construction process to help ensure the project is on the right track.
- Provide verification and testing at the end of the construction process.
- Provide a Confirmed Rating Certificate” for the local building official so that a Certificate of Occupancy can be issued.
What is a Passing HERS Rating Score?
A HERS Rating compares a home to be built with a user-defined reference home with similar characteristics, such as building type, size, and location. A scale of 0 to 100 is used. The lower the number the better the score and the more energy efficient the home.
- In 2022 a HERS Rating score of 55 is required.
- On January 1st 2023 that requirement is set to drop to 52.
- In 2024 the score is set to drop by a whopping 10 more points to 42.
Going forward new homes being built will need to be progressively more energy efficient. Designers and builders will need to step up their game, paying more attention to detail.
- The assembly of the building envelope will become an even higher priority.
- HVAC equipment will need to be energy efficient, properly sized and installed and then commissioned.
- Fossil fuel will give way to the “All Electric Home”.
- Energy Star appliances will become a must.
- HERS Ratings will become the norm everywhere.
Constructing a home is a complicated process requiring numerous subcontractors and their employees. For best results, get everyone on board early on in the process.
How To Pass A HERS Rating In 2023 and Beyond?
This will be the topic of our next column in this series.
Want to Take Advantage of Available Energy Efficient Incentives and Rebates?
- If you live in Massachusetts have an energy assessment performed through the Mass Save Program.
- If you live in Rhode Island have an energy assessment performed through the Energy Wise Program.
Contact Energy Geeks to Expedite the Process.
If you’d like more information on how you can minimize energy consumption and maximize savings while making your home more comfortable all year round, then contact Energy Geeks. Our mission is to provide the most comprehensive and efficient solutions to reduce energy use in your home.