With the increasing energy cost and the growing concern over the environment, energy efficiency is what most people are looking for when they buy a new home or improve their existing one. Energy ratings objectively measure how much energy a home consumes and how efficient the house is in managing energy use.
When buying a new home or looking for ways to improve your existing one, understanding energy ratings can help you make an informed decision. The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index is the most common energy rating. This index measures a home’s total energy usage and efficiency relative to the national average reference home. A HERS score of 100 means that the home uses as much energy as the reference home while a score of less than 100 means that the house is more energy efficient than the reference home.
How Home Energy Rating Systems Work
According to HERS rater San Antonio, home energy ratings are calculated using a variety of factors such as heating and cooling systems, insulation levels, construction materials, window types and sizes, appliance ratings, and more. An assessor will visit your home and conduct a detailed inspection to determine its overall energy efficiency. The inspector then uses this information to calculate the HERS Index score, the primary energy efficiency indicator.
Testing Your Home’s Energy Efficiency
Here are ways experts use to test a home’s energy efficiency:
Most assessors use a blower door test to evaluate the thermal performance of a home, which measures how much energy is needed to heat and cool the home. A blower door test will measure a home’s airtightness by using an airflow rate to determine how much air is leaking out of your home. This will help you identify areas where you need to improve insulation and show you where energy is wasted.
The duct blaster test is another method that assessors use to test the airtightness of a home’s ductwork. This will help identify areas where the ductwork needs improvement or replacement.To check the insulation levels of a home, an assessor may use various methods such as infrared imaging and wall probing. This will help identify areas where insulation needs to be improved or replaced.
These are just a few tests that most assessors use to determine a home’s energy efficiency. A certified HERS rater can help you decide which tests are suitable for your home and objectively assess its energy efficiency.
Making Improvements To Increase Energy Efficiency
Once you’ve determined your HERS Index score and identified areas where your home wastes energy, you can make the necessary improvements to increase your home’s energy efficiency.
Upgrading your insulation levels and airtightness are two of the most important steps to increasing a home’s energy efficiency. You can add additional insulation in attics, walls, and crawl spaces or even replace windows and doors with more energy-efficient models. Replacing old appliances with more energy-efficient ones can significantly decrease your energy usage.
Benefits Of Improving Your Home’s Energy Efficiency
Making improvements to increase your home’s energy efficiency can have multiple benefits:
1. Save Money
One of the most significant benefits of improving your home’s energy efficiency is saving you money on monthly utility bills. When you improve your home’s insulation, lighting, and other energy-consuming systems, you can significantly decrease the amount of energy your home uses each month.
2. Increase Comfort
Improving the energy efficiency of your home can also increase comfort levels. Homes that are properly insulated and sealed are more effectively resistant to outside temperatures, meaning they stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
3. Reduce Carbon Footprint
By reducing the energy used in your home, you’re helping to reduce your carbon footprint and make your home more environmentally friendly. This is a crucial step in helping to protect the environment for future generations.
4. Receive Incentives
You may also be eligible for certain incentives or tax credits when you improve your home’s energy efficiency. Some home insurance providers may offer discounts for making energy-saving improvements. When filing your taxes, you may also indicate improvements you’ve made to your home towards energy efficiency. If you qualify, you may be eligible to receive a certain amount of money back as a tax credit.
Understanding and using energy ratings can help you make informed decisions when buying a new home or improving your existing one. A HERS rater can provide you with the information you need to be confident in your choice and help you save money in the long run. Additionally, making improvements to increase your home’s energy efficiency can result in greater comfort and improved air quality and might even qualify you for certain tax credits or incentives.