Buying or building a home involves a series of critical, important energy decisions. The cost of heating and cooling a home is the highest cost of homeownership outside of the mortgage loan. Everyone wants a home that is comfortable and affordable. Knowing the home's energy performance is a critical piece of information you need when building your home.
Home energy ratings provide a standard measurement of a home's energy efficiency. Ratings are used for both and new and existing homes. In new homes, ratings often verify energy performance for the ENERGY STAR® homes program, energy efficient mortgages, and energy code compliance. Homeowners who want to upgrade the home's energy efficiency can use the energy rating to evaluate and pinpoint specific, cost-effective improvements. For existing homes, homeowners can receive a report listing cost-effective options for improving the home's energy rating. An energy rating allows a homebuyer to easily compare the energy performance of the homes being considered.
When it comes to buying a house plan, you'll need to have your home inspected by a HERS Rater so the energy efficiency of your new home can be properly indexed. A home energy rating involves an analysis of your home's construction plans and onsite inspections. Based on the home plans, the Home Energy Rater uses an energy efficiency software package to perform an energy analysis of the home's design. This analysis yields a projected, pre-construction HERS Index. Upon completion of the plan review, the rater will work with the builder to identify the energy efficiency improvements needed to ensure the house will meet ENERGY STAR® performance guidelines. The rater then conducts onsite inspections, typically including a blower door test (to test the leakiness of the house) and a duct test (to test the leakiness of the ducts). Results of these tests, along with inputs derived from the plan review, are used to generate the HERS Index score for the home.