imageThe HERS® (Home Energy Rating System) was developed by RESNET and is the nationally recognized system for inspection and calculation of a home’s energy performance. The RESNET HERS Index® is a linear scale and is the industry standard by which a home’s energy efficiency is measured.

A standard new home is given a rating of 100 on the HERS Index®. The lower the rating, the more energy efficient it is and the lower the homeowner’s energy costs will be. So, a home rating of 70 on the HERS Index® is 30% more efficient than the standard new home. A rating of 130 (a typical rating for an older resale home) is 30% less efficient than a standard new home.

A certified HERS® rater conducts an inspection to verify a home’s energy performance and can determine what improvements could be made to the home to decrease energy usage.

Newly constructed homes are very energy efficient, but what if you don’t have a brand-new house? Here are a few things you can do around your current home to help make it more energy efficient:

– Make your windows more energy efficient by closing your curtains on the south and west-facing windows during the day to block excess heat from entering the house. Installing awnings on the south and west-facing windows will also reduce costs.

– Install low-flow shower heads in your bathrooms. They’re exceptionally cost efficient and this small change can save you up to $145 a year.

– You can save on energy costs by making a few small changes in your office, like unplugging power adapters and chargers when not in use. Using a power strip for your devices can eliminate standby power usage. Also, try and set your devices to automatically switch to sleep mode when not in use, including your monitor. Consider switching your office lights to compact fluorescent light bulbs, which use 75% less energy and can last up to 10 times longer than standard light bulbs.

– In the kitchen, putting a 6” pan on an 8” burner wastes over 40% of the heat. By using the right sized pots on your burners you’ll save up to $36 annually on electric ranges. After cooking, you might not feel like hand washing your dishes and that’s okay because it’s a waste of water and energy. Most newer dishwashers have the capability to thoroughly wash scraped dishes. Also, check to make sure your kitchen sink isn’t leaking to save up to 1,166 gallons of wasted water per year.

– Consider investing in a new refrigerator. By doing so you can save from $300-$700 over its suggested life span and you’ll prevent 5,000 to 20,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions.

By implementing a few small changes within your home, you could potentially save yourself thousands of dollars over the long term. There are many online resources to assist you with making your home more energy efficient, including http://energy.gov/energysaver/energy-saver-guide-tips-saving-money-and-energy-home and you can visit www.hersindex.com/interactive for more information about HERS®.