Nearly 1 in 4 New Homes Received HERS Rating in 2020

Filed in Sustainability and Green Building by on October 4, 2021 2 Comments

HERS Index ScaleA home’s Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index Score is calculated by a certified Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) HERS Rater who provides an energy rating for a home by comparing its features against a defined reference home, which has a set score of 100. For example, a home with a HERS Index Score of 70 is 30% more energy efficient than the reference home (a 2006 standard built home).

Since the inception of the HERS Index in 1995, there have been more than 3.2 million HERS-rated homes, with more than 230,000 homes rated this year. 2020 saw a 24% increase in number of rated homes over 2019, with nearly one in four new homes built receiving a HERS Index Score, according to RESNET.

“Home builders are increasingly seeing energy efficiency as a major selling point for buying a new home,” says RESNET Executive Director Steve Baden. “It is particularly encouraging that the average HERS Index Score of homes HERS rated [in 2020] was 58. This is 42% more efficient than homes built as recently as 2006 and 72% more efficient than a typical home built in the 1970s.”

ENERGY STAR and DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes (ZERH) that provided solar started out slightly more efficient, with an average HERS Index Score of 56, which improved to an average of 28 once the impact of the solar panels was included.

The program can be used in all climate zones for single-family, duplex and low-rise multifamily projects. On average in any given year, about 75% of rated homes are single-family homes or duplexes. New and existing projects can use the program, although current rated homes are overwhelmingly (more than 90%) new construction.

The top 10 states for number of HERS-rated homes in 2020 are shown in the table, along with the percentage of new homes that were HERS rated in that state. The map illustrates the market penetration of new HERS-rated homes in 2020 across the United States. In some markets, a HERS Index Score is becoming the norm of doing business; in others, it is still a differentiator.

Top 10 States in 2020

State Number of HERS-Rated Homes Average HERS Index Score Percentage of 2020 New Homes HERS Rated
Texas 65,081 58 40%
Florida 23,750 55 17%
Arizona 20,966 55 47%
North Carolina 20,622 63 27%
Colorado 16,696 57 42%
South Carolina 11,880 60 29%
Virginia 11,160 62 23%
Indiana 11,144 64 54%
Ohio 10,501 60 45%
Massachusetts 9,922 51 87%

Source: Ryan Meres, RESNET

To find out if a home has been HERS rated by a certified HERS Rater and its confirmed HERS Index Score, visit RESNET’s portal.

Learn how to obtain a HERS Index Score for your next build.

To stay current on the high-performance residential building sector, with tips on water efficiency, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and other building science strategies, follow NAHB’s Sustainability and Green Building efforts on Twitter.

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Comments (2)

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  1. revedev says:

    Are they also NGBS rated? How many HERS ratings was done for one model then used on all homes built as that model?

    • NAHB Now says:

      To answer both of your questions:

      Are they also NGBS rated?
      The public databases for both programs do not cross-reference each other so specific numbers are not available, but there is most likely some overlap, as some of the energy compliance paths in the National Green Building Standard (NGBS) include a requirement to obtain a HERS Index Score.

      How many HERS ratings was done for one model then used on all homes built as that model?
      We reached out to RESNET with this question. Per RESNET Program Director Ryan Meres, “Each unique home model is required to have an energy model completed for their HERS Rating. However, unless a builder is using sampling (not as common for single-family homes), the HERS Rater must conduct a pre-drywall and final inspection/testing for every home receiving a HERS Rating. The Rater would modify the energy model used for that home to reflect as-built characteristics and submit that home to RESNET. RESNET tracks all homes by their address.”

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