Home Energy Efficiency & HERS Testing

Home Energy Efficiency & HERS Testing

When considering a remodel to your home, you’re primarily focused on changing the space to be more fitting to you and your family. You’re also probably thinking of ways to add some eye appeal to your homes interior and exterior, nothing wrong with that. You may even be thing a little deeper into making your home more efficient for functionality reasons. When you are going down this path it is pretty easy to understand why any homeowner would want to replace the faucets from 1973 or update the bigger ticket items like the furnace or water heater to add more comfort to the house. However, thanks to a recent project we finished, I was able to see a little more in-depth as to how these changes both big and small, can lead to a much greater change to the efficiency of the house and inevitably save the homeowners a good chunk of money each year.

Let’s Blow the Doors Off!

Okay, not really but kind of. For this project our Director of Design, Rob Aldecocea recommended that the team have this home go through a blower door test prior to the remodel and then again afterwards. What’s a blower door test? Good question. 

Blower door tests are performed by certified energy auditors to determine to what degree a home is airtight. A temporary “blower door” equipped with a powerful fan is fitted into the frame of an existing front or back door, and when the fan is turned on, it sucks the air out of the house and blows it outside. Digital gauges compare the difference in air pressure between the inside air and the outside air to determine how much air is leaking into the house.

Thanks bobvila.com

Time to Get Cooking

Now that the initial test has been completed and we have knowledge of what items may need attention, it’s time to start finding the right ingredients to change and upgrade the homes efficiency and it’s eventual HERS Rating. Wait, what’s a HERS Rating? Good question.

The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index is the industry standard by which a home’s energy efficiency is measured. It’s also the nationally recognized system for inspecting and calculating a home’s energy performance.

The HERS Index is a measurement of a home’s energy efficiency and there are a lot of great reasons why you should have a home energy rating performed on your house.

A HERS Index Score can tell you so much about a home you are thinking of buying. Heating, cooling and water heating constitute the largest cost of homeownership outside of the mortgage loan. The HERS Index Score will tell you how well the home performs energy-wise. The HERS Report will outline the energy features of the home and the expected cost of utility bills.

It will also provide you with invaluable information about the existing home you live in, like how efficiently it’s operating and where you can make modifications for greater energy savings. When you’re selling your home, a low HERS Index Score can command a higher resale price. And when you’re buying a home, you can anticipate the costs of energy bills and efficiency upgrades.

Thanks hersindex.com

Ingredients Big and Small

There are plenty of ways that you can upgrade the efficiency of your home, some big and some small. Some on the bigger side of things include replacing your furnace or A/C units with newer more efficient models, replacing the windows with new energy-efficient windows or upgrading all the duct work, vents and insulation throughout the house. Some smaller items to look at would be new caulking or expandable foam throughout the house to block drafts, new weather stripping or seals beneath all of the doors and having new exterior vent covers installed. 

Thanks bobvila.com


You’ve met with your remodeler and learned of all the options, you’ve made your decisions, you’ve selected all of your upgrades from big to small. The remodelers have gone to work and implemented all of your selections to enhance your home, now what? Now is time for the second blower test and based on it’s results along with all of the upgrades you’ve made during the remodel, a RESNET Certified Rater can give your home it’s HERS Rating!

For a base to go off for our recent finished project, here is some additional info from hersindex.com

A certified RESNET Home Energy Rater assesses the energy efficiency of a home, assigning it a relative performance score (the HERS Index Score). The lower the number, the more energy efficient the home. The U.S. Department of Energy has determined that a typical resale home scores 130 on the HERS Index while a home built to the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code is awarded a rating of 100.

Now that you have that to go off of, you can now see how the bigger and small changes that were made to this home will benefit the homeowners long term.

This rating shows that the house has been made 19% more efficient than a home that already met the International Energy Conservation Code!