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The Weather is Warming Up: What the HERS Index Means for Your Utility Bills

Spring is finally here, which gives us a break from the winter heating bills. But the weather is warming up as we approach the summer months. Air conditioners are a must in the Oklahoma City area. The energy efficiency features in your home will contribute significantly to the cost of cooling your home. If you’re not already familiar with the RESNET standard for energy efficiency, you should understand what the HERS Index means for your utility bills.

RESNET—Residential Energy Services Network—is an independent, non-profit organization that focuses on energy efficiency standards in the home. This group established the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) to provide a consistent means to measure the energy efficiency of a home. The HERS inspection is conducted by a certified, third-party professional who thoroughly examines the home, from the foundation to the roof.

The HERS Index Score is based on a numbered scale. The lower the number, the higher the efficiency. A typical new home built in the past few years has a 100 rating. An older home scores a 130. This means that the resale home is 30% less efficient than the average new home.

According to RESNET, a score of 80 is good but has room for improvement—even though this measurement reflects a home that is 20% more energy efficient than average new homes and 50% better than a typical resale home. Beacon Homes achieves a HERS rating of 58, so our homes are 42% more energy efficient than a typical new home, and 72% better than a resale. That savings contributes to your energy savings and home value!

Factors to your HERS Index Score

The HERS Rater carefully evaluates a home, looking at critical areas that impact the energy efficiency:

  • All exterior walls (both above and below grade)
  • Floors over unconditioned spaces (like garages or cellars)
  • Ceilings and roofs
  • Attics, foundations and crawlspaces
  • Windows and doors, vents and ductwork
  • HVAC system, water heating system, and thermostat
  • Air leakage of the home
  • Leakage in the heating and cooling distribution system

Each measurement affects the overall rating. Your home is rated against homes of a similar size, style, and shape, for an “apples to apples” comparison.

The soaring cost of energy

In 2001, homeowners in the U.S. spent an average of 12% of their after-tax income on energy costs. By 2012, that figure jumped to 21%. Nearly one-fourth of your income goes to pay your utility bills!

So, it pays to invest in an energy-efficient home—whether you retrofit your current home or buy a new home that has built-in energy savings.

EnergySmart builders

A builder that is committed to designing and building homes that meet energy efficiency standards can earn an Energy Smart Builder designation from RESNET. These builders have their new homes inspected and measured according to the HERS Index. Beacon Homes is an Energy Smart Builder serving the greater Oklahoma City region. We invite you to look at our available new homes,floor plans, and new home communitiesContact us to see how much energy efficiency you can achieve in your new home.


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