HERS Scores - How do we compare?

June 18, 2024

You may have heard of a HERS score and wondered what it was. Many builders talk about how their home is HERS rated, but they don't even mention what the score was. This article will hopefully educate you on what a HERS score means and how Riverwood Homes is performing relative to other builders.

HERS rating is a standardized method of measuring and scoring the energy efficiency of a house. It is an index that ranges from 0 to 150, with lower scores being more desirable than high scores. It defines a score of 100 as a "reference home" or, more accurately, an otherwise equivalent house built to the 2006 energy code. Zero by definition is a net zero house that produces as much energy as it uses. The scale is such that every point below 100 represents 1% more efficiency than a "reference home". For example, a house with a HERS score of 60 would be 40% more efficient than the same house built only to the 2006 energy code standards.  For more information visit this webpage.

In 2023, the national average HERS score was 57. In Idaho the average was 60, and in Washington the average was 51.  Now, most of the houses that get tested are new construction, and they are so much more energy efficient as a group compared to older resale homes. Furthermore, of the new construction houses that are built each year, only the builders with a mindfulness toward energy efficiency are having their homes tested.

Most of Riverwood Homes ' houses have been averaging a score of 52 over the past few years, which is almost 50% more efficient than the defined reference home. And we've been scoring as low or lower than our competing builders who care enough to have their houses tested (Idaho had only 2,533 houses tested last year, and Washington had just 2,224). 

Since we began adding solar panels to our houses this year, our houses have been achieving HERS scores in the mid to upper 20's! We're almost 75% more efficient than houses built to the 2006 energy code, which saves the homeowner thousands of dollars per year! While these are not "net zero" homes that produces as much energy as they consume, they're getting pretty close. Since our houses are being built so efficiently already, adding on 10 solar panels makes a big impact and offsets a large percentage of the energy usage. 

Riverwood Homes is clearly a market leader for energy efficiency, and you don't have to take our word for it. The standardized HERS score index tells the story for us., and our houses are tested by a third party certified energy rater. Please ask around and compare our scores to those of other builders. You can even look up your own house here.

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