A Residential Builder's Guide to Working with HERS Raters

Due to consumer demand and increasingly stringent energy codes, residential builders need to deliver energy efficient, comfortable, and environmentally conscious homes. As a result, they are turning to Home Energy Rating System (HERS) raters, who are experts in building science. However, some builders are not familiar with HERS ratings and many others are not sure how to obtain the most value from their HERS raters.


The HERS Index is the industry standard by which a home’s energy efficiency is measured, as well as a nationally recognized system for inspecting, testing and calculating a home’s energy performance. A HERS Index score demonstrates how well a home performs energy-wise or how efficiently it is operating. A home with a low score is more efficient than a home with a high score. Click here for more information about HERS Ratings.


There are many reasons for builders to work with certified raters and obtain HERS scores for their homes. These include:

  • ensuring that a home was built properly and identifying proper sealing of homes by contractors
  • meeting requirements for green building certifications
  • meeting requirements for certain incentives
  • validating quality workmanship and credibility
  • marketing and standing out from the competition
  • attracting home buyers interested in sustainable or energy efficient homes
  • getting ahead of the game as HERS ratings become more and more common

In addition, certain states, including Florida, require blower door testing of certain residences. Because a blower door test is one component of obtaining a HERS Rating, many builders are choosing to go ahead and obtain a HERS rating for the reasons listed above.


It is important that builders get the most value out of obtaining HERS scores. To do so, the following are key things builders should keep in mind when working with HERS raters:[1]

  • Use a Certified Rater. At a minimum, the rater should be able to give an accurate score.
  • Leverage Building Science Expertise to Validate Quality. It is important to work with a rater that is a building science expert. Their expertise can help a builder validate that a home has been properly sealed and that contractors have done quality work. 
  • Take Advantage of Experience. An experienced rater that has conducted thousands of ratings can make invaluable suggestions on how to address building issues. They can also clearly explain why a building received a specific score. Using them in an advisory or consulting role can be invaluable.
  • Use a Rater that Provides Marketing Assistance. Use raters that know how to translate building science into value propositions easily understood by realtors, sales teams, and home buyers. For example, RunBrook helps educate sales teams and can also provide access to and develop sales materials related to each home model's HERS score.
  • Get Scores Quickly and Easily. Make sure the rating company has processes in place to provide scores quickly and make them easily accessible to your team for sales and other purposes. RunBrook, for example, can make all HERS score data easily accessible online by key individuals.

RunBrook's HERS raters are certified and have years of experience in building science and energy efficiency.  In addition, our company helps builders obtain the most value out of HERS by providing marketing and training assistance, as well as quick and easy access to HERS score data. RunBrook's consultants, energy modeling professionals, certified energy raters and field inspectors add more value per square foot by optimizing the sustainable design and construction process. For more information, visit: www.runbrook.com.

[1] Information based on the Insulation Institute's Guide to Understanding What Builders Want From HERS Raters, http://www.resnet.us/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/N083-HERS-Raters-Guide.pdf