On October 7th 2013, the International Code Council (ICC) adopted the HERS Index as an optional compliance path for the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code also known as the 2015 IECC. This is great news for the entire construction industry and the citizens of the United States. Why is this good and who does it benefit? Read below….
What does this mean?
When a builder builds a home, they have to meet the current energy code for the jurisdiction the home is located it. Many building codes, similar to West Michigan, offer the builder two paths to compliance. The prescriptive and performance path. The prescriptive path requires the builder to follow the code 100% by the book. The performance path allows the builder more flexibility as long as they can prove the “projected annual energy usage” of the home is equal to or less than a home built to exact code. Most quality builders are building there homes to exceed the current code, so if your builder is struggling to meet code, find a new builder. This is a rundown of how the current code works in a lot of areas of the country.
When the 2015 IECC gets adopted by building departments, builders will be able to utilize the “Energy Rating Index” compliance path to meet the energy code (The HERS Index Rating is compatible with this index). This will be a numeric score which has to be under a certain number depending on the region of the country (see below for scores by region). This Energy Rating Index will have to be given by a 3rd party approved rater, such as a HERS Index Rater.
Why is this good for builders?
It gives them another path for compliance. It will be flexible and easier to understand than the current performance path. Many builders are already using the HERS Index as a way to meet the current energy codes, which means they won’t have to make many adjustments.
Why is this good for home buyers?
This will ensure your builder is employing a building science professional to help design and rate your home. The 2015 IECC will require all builders to build a more efficient home that will save you money right now and over the long run. The HERS Index will give you a comprehensive look at the energy usage of your home and how it compares to other homes. Frankly, if you are someone looking to build a home right now you should be requiring your builder to provide you with a HERS Index. If not, it’s like buying a car and not knowing the MPG.
Who is supporting this adoption?
This was proposed by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Institute of Market Transformation and the Britt/Makela Group. Supporters of this proposal were Leading Builders of America, The National Home Builders Association, North American Insulation Manufactures Association, DOW, Green Building Coalition, The Southwest Energy Efficiency Program and more than 150 RESNET member companies and organizations.