Jargon Decoded: The HERS Index

The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) is an important scale by which many of our Members gauge the progress of their energy efficient efforts in housing.  One of the main goals by these members is to save families money in their monthly utilities by making their homes use less energy.  The HERS index is a way for them to measure this efficiency.

correct energy star graphic

The way the scale works is simple.  The base reference point is set at 100.  This represents a “standard built” home that meets code.

When using the HERS Index, the lower the number, the better.  Every point that is below the 100 mark indicates a percentage of increased efficiency.  For example a home with a HERS score of 60 would be 40% more efficient than the standard built home.  The opposite is true for homes that go above the 100 mark.

These improvements are reached through several different construction techniques such as air-sealing, proper insulation, correct heating and cooling appliances for the size of the home, window choices, siding choices, and type of foundation.

Making a home energy efficient does cost more up front, but by building more efficient homes, our Members are saving homeowners between $500-$900 per year in utility bills.  These energy efficient upgrades pay for themselves within 5 to 8 years.

If you’re interested in a more in-depth report of energy efficient housing, including the HERS Index, this information can be found in our publication entitled A Brighter Path Forward: The Intersection of Green Construction and Affordability.