The energy efficiency of a building is quantifiable across several measuring systems. Two of those are the HER’s Index & Earth Craft’s scale.
We know these may be unfamiliar, so let’s take a look at them to help you better understand what they mean.
The HERS Index is a measurement of a home’s energy efficiency.
Energy & fuel bills are the largest cost of home ownership besides your mortgage; and unlike a mortgage, you can’t pay them off early (or ever!) These ongoing expenses are an important consideration as they constitute a large portion of the cost of ownership of a given property. Since each property will have a different energy efficiency, measuring how a home uses energy is the only way to compare one home to another.
A HERS Index Score will tell you how well the home uses energy. A HERS Report outlines the energy features of the home and the expected cost of utility bills.
It can also provide you with important information about the home you currently live in, like where you can make modifications for greater energy savings. When you’re selling your home, a low HERS Index Score is an important selling point that can command a higher resale price. When you’re buying a home, you can use the HERs Index to anticipate the costs of energy bills & efficiency upgrades.
How Does the HERs Index Work?
A certified RESNET Home Energy Rater uses a number of factors to assess the efficiency of a home, assigning it a relative performance score (the HERS Index Score). The energy rating on the home is compared against a ‘reference home’– a designed-model home of the same size and shape as the actual home, so the score is always relative to the size, shape and type of a comparable house.
The lower the score, the more energy efficient the home is determined to be.
The U.S. Department of Energy says that a typical resale home in America scores 130 on the HERS Index while a home built to the 2004 International Energy Conservation Code is awarded a rating of 100.
You can read more about a HERs Rating system here.
What is Earth Craft Certification?
The Earth Craft program is based on the three levels of EarthCraft
House certification – Certified (75 points), Gold (100 points), and Platinum (125 points).
The EarthCraft program incorporates attractive, efficient & innovative design and construction techniques with sustainable materials to provide features including:
- Healthy indoor air quality
- High standards of energy and water efficiency
- Reduced resource consumption
- Savings on maintenance, repairs and utilities
An Earth Craft Certified Builder must pass an intensive educational program and and exam. After a home is built, it must be thoroughly assessed according to a thorough points-based scale. Evaluated items address:
- site planning
- energy-efficient appliances and lighting
- resource-efficient building materials
- indoor air quality
- water conservation
- homebuyer education
All points on the Certification scale are verified during site visits and inspections. EarthCraft-certified homes must also pass diagnostic tests for air infiltration and duct leakage standards.
Interested in learning more about Earth Craft Homes? You can check out their website here.