Energy-efficiency is all the rage these days, and for good reason. From power-reliant consumer products like air conditioners and lightbulbs, to everyday means of civilization such as automobiles and homes. There’s a method or two to regulating the energy-efficiency madness. For the purposes of this blog, we’re focused on the energy-efficiency regulation of homes – the places where we sleep, eat and dwell.

When it comes to homes, it’s all about the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index. This nationally recognized standard is on point for measuring home energy efficiency and performance. Today, more than 2 million homes in the U.S. are now HERS-rated. And here in Colorado, the multiple listing service (MLS) database REALTORS® to buy and sell homes, has included a category for HERS-rated homes since 2013. Continue reading to learn more about HERS – how its calculated, why the score matters and more.

How is a HERS Index score calculated? A certified Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) HERS Rater conducts a few tests and tallies their observations against a ‘reference home’ of similar layout, size and shape to determine your home’s energy-rating. Tests and observations account for air and duct leakage, geographic location, number of walls above and below the ground’s surface, floors over unconditioned/finished spaces, height of ceilings, wall-to-window ratios, heating and cooling system efficiency, etc.

What is a typical HERS Index score? An average HERS Index score of a newer home (built in 2006 or later) is 100; this is also the current industry standard for home-energy efficiency. Ratings range from 150 to 0; the lower the HERS score, the more energy-efficient a home is. A score of 150 is a significant financial drain on the wallet and environment, in general. A score of 0 means the home produces as much energy through renewable geothermal resources as it uses.

Why does a HERS Index Rating Matter? A HERS Report tells you all about your home’s energy consumption and anticipated cost of utilities. A lower HERS score can command a higher resale price of a home up to 30 percent, according to Earth Advantage Institute. And guess what? The federal government is currently offering homeowners significant financial incentives to make their homes more energy efficient.

How can a HERS Index Rating be improved? Unless your home’s HERS score is 150, there’s always room for improvement. Improvement comes by way of solar panel installation, heat pump excavation and other geothermal system additions. An improved score will decrease your utility bills, while vastly improving the comfort of your home.

How do home remodels and additions affect a HERS Index Rating? An energy-rating of a home prior to any updates is called a “projected rating.” A rating used to determine a home’s current efficiency is a “confirmed rating.” A projected rating can help determine the most cost-effective route for improving a home’s energy-efficiency. So, if you’re planning any updates to your home, enlist an accredited HERS Rater first to ensure you get a solid return on your investment.

As Colorado’s leading geothermal experts, Sensible Heating & Cooling is at the forefront of residential green exploration. If you have questions or curiosities about new and/or retrofit geothermal systems or other alternative energy options, contact Dan Schmied or Phil Jensen, at 720-876-7166 or /

About Sensible Heating & Cooling

Sensible Heating & Cooling is Denver’s Premier Heating & Cooling company, offering a wealth of experience and knowledge in traditional HVAC as well as alternative systems such as geothermal and heat pumps. To learn more about Sensible, visit