A HERS Rating

A common question throughout the building community is, “What the heck is a HERS Rating?” and “…why is it necessary”? Although it might seem like just another bureaucratic mandate to check off the list before getting that long-awaited building permit, it is actually quite important to the future of building. Another trade to insure the quality of a constructed design.

With the technology today, we can not only accurately predict and measure a home’s energy implications but enhance the longevity and safety of your home. The common household phrases like “ice dams”, “frozen pipes”, and “…is this mold?” will soon dwindle away into the “traditional” way to build and outdated callbacks or litigation.

But to start to understand how, you must first learn the basics of a HERS Rating.

The definition of a home energy rating is an analysis of a home’s energy efficiency. However, when you start to unveil what effects a home’s energy, you learn that the builder/homeowner has only one true chance to improve the performance of a home for years to come.

By involving Delta Enclosures in the beginning stages of construction you will have the opportunity to compare an analysis of your project’s architectural plans to the nationally recognized scoring system known has the HERS Index. The HERS index is often described as an MPG or (miles per gallon) sticker for a home. This is achieved by taking everything about a building into account; from insulation levels to mechanical efficiencies, heating and cooling loads, orientations of windows, solar heat gains, thermal bridging, and even how far a hot water line must travel. All these factors of a home’s energy use are then compared to a HERS reference home. The reference home is a home built to 2006 building code and federal equipment efficiency standards. Here is where the HERS Index Score is introduced. The HERS Index score is a deescalating scale, 100+ being the least efficient and below 100 being more efficient. Zero on the HERS Index is known as a Net Zero Home (most efficient). In Massachusetts, the maximum HERS Index score allowed is a HERS 55.

Delta Enclosures implements a three-step approach to typical HERS Ratings (existing and new construction).

  • Plan Review/Projected Rating – A HERS Rater will meet with you during the design or pre-construction phase of your project. Energy models will be created based on construction blueprints and a projected HERS Index score will be presented.

  • Rough-in/Mid-point inspection – During construction a lead HERS rater will inspect and grade the quality of the installation of insulation and air-sealing applications. Upon request a rough-in duct leakage test may be performed and if required a thermal enclosure/air barrier checklist will be conducted.

  • Final Inspection To verify that the project has either met or exceeded its projected HERS rating an onsite visual inspection as well as performance testing is completed. This includes blower door, duct leakage and mechanical ventilation testing. Diagnostic testing is offered to our clients if infiltration/duct leakage rates were not reached.

Once the projected rating has been confirmed, HERS certificates are generated, and administrative requirements completed for incentive programs.


Brandon | Principal / HERS Rater

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