RESNET reaches milestone of more than two million HERS-rated homes

In September 2017, the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET), an important International Code Council (ICC) partner, announced that over 2 million homes in the United States have now been rated with a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) index score, which establishes a uniform estimate of a home's energy consumption and provides buyers and owners with a reference point for how energy efficient it is as compared to other homes. Heating, cooling and water heating constitute the largest cost of homeownership outside of the mortgage loan, and the HERS Index Score can help homeowners outline the energy features of the home and the expected cost of utility bills.

The partnership between RESNET and ICC began in 2015 when the organizations collaborated on a variety of projects to benefit members of both associations, support the adoption and usage of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), and to increase recognition of HERS in the building safety community. In 2016, the associations published two ANSI-approved standards: ANSI/RESNET/ICC 301-2014, Standard for the Calculation and Labeling of the Energy Performance of Low-Rise Residential Buildings using an Energy Rating Index; and ANSI/RESNET/ICC 380-2016, Standard for Testing Airtightness of Building Enclosures, Airtightness of Heating and Cooling Air Distribution Systems, and Airflow of Mechanical Ventilation Systems.

In addition, the adoption of the 2015 IECC made compliance easier for new homes that are inspected for an Energy Ratings Index (ERI) under HERS. Thus, code officials have clear guidance on a home's energy efficiency rating, homebuilders undergo fewer inspections and homeowners receive a comprehendible HERS Index label. The ERI performance path gives builders another option to comply with the 2015 IECC, and the HERS rating is the existing compliant ERI method and is nationally recognized for inspecting and calculating a home's energy performance. RESNET national home energy rating standards are recognized by the federal government, including the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Internal Revenue Service.

"We spent almost a decade developing the infrastructure and working with the building industry to establish the HERS Index," said RESNET Executive Director Steve Baden. "What started with just a few hundred homes rated per year has now grown to over 2 million HERS rated homes nationwide. We thank our network of HERS raters, providers, builders and RESNET partners, like the ICC, on their hard work to help reach this milestone."

Last year, more than 206,000 homes received HERS Index Scores, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by over 905,000 tons (which is the equivalent of taking more than 129,000 cars off the road each year) and achieving an annual energy bill savings of $268 million for consumers.

In 2012, when documenting the millionth home to receive a HERS Index Score, RESNET partnered with EnergySmart Builder Meritage Home for outreach to consumer media. Using the new 2 million homes milestone to educate consumers, RESNET is also partnering with EnergySmart Builder KB Home on a series of media events on the value of the HERS Index.

With more than 3,000 RESNET certified auditors, raters and contractors across North America, the HERS Index plays an increasingly important role in the housing industry, with more utility companies now offering builders rebates based on the efficiency of their homes, as rated by certified RESNET Home Energy Professionals.