OCEANSIDE, Calif. — A newly constructed Gilbert, Ariz., home became the one-millionth home rated in the United States according to the Residential Energy Services Network™ (RESNET) Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index. The HERS Index score provides buyers with a reference point for how energy efficient it is compared to other homes. The rating for the Gilbert home calculated that it will save its new owner about $158 monthly, or $1,890 annually in utility expenses, as promised by the builder.

RESNET is a non-profit organization formed in 1996 with the goal of standardizing home energy efficiency ratings and helping homeowners reduce energy costs by making their homes more energy efficient. Certified RESNET home energy professionals are trained in energy efficiency practices and must adhere to the RESNET standards of practice and code of ethics.

With over 3,000 RESNET certified auditors, raters, and contractors across the United States and Puerto Rico, the organization hopes to make home energy ratings a common marketplace feature for homes, much like the miles-per-gallon sticker on new automobiles. Some utility companies offer builders rebates based on the efficiency of their homes, as rated by certified RESNET home energy professionals. In addition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) relies on certified RESNET home energy raters to verify Energy Star labeled homes and the Internal Revenue Service recognizes RESNET’s standards for verifying energy efficient homes for federal tax credits.

“What we want to do is create a marker so consumers can readily understand the difference between homes,” said Steve Baden, RESNET executive director.

According to Baden, the popularity of HERS continues to grow with more and more builders using HERS Index scores to market the energy efficiency of their homes. “We spent almost a decade coming up with the infrastructure, educating builders and the (construction) trades on the value of the HERS index,” he said. “We went from certifying a few hundred homes a year to 120,000 in 2011, which was 40 percent of all the new homes sold last year.”

For more information about RESNET and the HERS Index, visit www.resnet.us.

Publication date: 6/11/2012