Whether you’re in the market for a new or existing home or interested in evaluating your own home, it’s important to look beyond what you can see. Specifically, how much will it cost to heat and cool the home? As energy costs continue to rise, an energy-efficient, high-performance home is an important consideration. A high-performance home goes beyond current energy code requirements, making it more energy efficient, healthy, durable, AND more valuable.
When making your home more energy-efficient, it’s important to keep air quality, proper fresh-air ventilation, back-drafting and carbon monoxide in mind. For more information, visit the Department of Energy (DOE) Air Sealing and Fresh-air Ventilation for New Home Construction or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Carbon Monoxide's Impact on Indoor Air Quality.
High-performance homes help reduce electrical load during peak (summer) usage times, delaying the need to build new generation plants. This also helps OPPD keep rates low.
Home Energy Rating System (HERS)
Thanks to the Home Energy Rating System (HERS), understanding the efficiency of a home just got easier. The HERS scoring system, established by the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET), gives consumers a comparative look at how the energy efficiency of a home stacks up to other homes that may seem similar at first glance.
A RESNET-certified home energy rater must perform an energy analysis. Based on calculations and performance, the home is awarded a HERS Index Score - similar to golf, the lower the score the better.
Understanding the HERS index:
- A home built to the minimum 2006 IECC energy code standards is rated at 100 on the HERS Index. This is the benchmark.
- If a home is rated at 130 on the HERS Index, that means it is 30 percent less efficient than a standard new home.
- If a home has a lower score of 60 that means the home is 40 percent more efficient than a standard new home.
How do I find out the HERS score on a new or existing home?
- For your existing home, contact an energy rater to perform a home energy analysis. Find a Certified RESNET Home Energy Professional
- If purchasing a home, ask the realtor. Beginning in May of 2013, the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) will begin showing the HERS score on homes that have been rated by a certified energy rater.
- If building a new home, ask your builder.
For more information about HERS, visit resnet.us/hers-index.
In OPPD’s service territory, there are two types of certified high-efficiency homes being built – ENERGY STAR homes and certified high-performance homes.
ENERGY STAR for New Homes Program
Since 2007, nearly 2,000 new homes in the OPPD service territory have been certified as ENERGY STAR homes. OPPD works with various professionals in the home building industry and Energy Raters to educate customers and promote the ENERGY STAR for new homes program.
To meet ENERGY STAR qualifications, a home must be at least 15 percent more efficient than a home built to local IECC requirements. ENERGY STAR homes achieve higher efficiency through a variety of features, including tight construction, better indoor air quality, effective insulation, effective heating and cooling systems, high performance windows and more.
An ENERGY STAR new home can qualify for special low interest loans thru the Nebraska Energy Office (NEO). For more information, visit neo.gov.