NREL Research Finds That 22% of New Homes Completed in the U.S. in 2016 Were HERS Rated

The National Renewable Energy Research Laboratory (NREL) has been researching the penetration of the HERS Index Score in the U.S. housing market and discovered that in 2016, 22% of all completed new homes in the U.S. were HERS rated, according to David Roberts, NREL Residential Buildings Research Group Manager.

Homeowners in Massachusetts, Indiana, and Iowa topped the nation last year in pursuit of home energy efficiency with the most homes receiving Home Energy Rating System, or HERS Index Score. 

Developed by the Residential Energy Services Network, or RESNET, a HERS Index Score provides a homebuyer a way to compare the energy performance of a home in the same fashion as the Miles Per Gallon (MPG) sticker does for auto buyers.

The state rankings were calculated by NREL with data from RESNET’s National Building Registry of HERS-rated homes, and the number of completed homes by state from the U.S. Census Bureau. “RESNET wants to thank the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for these findings, which show how the HERS Index is fast becoming mainstream in the U.S. housing market,” says RESNET Executive Director Steve Baden. “Much like consumers rely upon the MPG to gauge the performance of autos they are considering to purchase so increasingly are looking to the HERS Index to consider the energy performance of a home. RESNET lauds the high performance states that are blazing this path.”

NREL's research broke down the percentage of completed new homes in 2016 that were HERS rated by state. The top states in terms of percentage of new completed homes that were HERS rated in 2016 are:

  1. Massachusetts - 61%
  2. Indiana - 57%
  3. Iowa - 53%
  4. Alaska - 48%
  5. Arizona - 41%
  6. Minnesota - 39%
  7. Colorado - 38%
  8. Delaware - 37%
  9. Oklahoma - 37%
  10. Rhode Island - 35%
  11. Ohio - 34%
  12. Nevada - 33%
  13. Pennsylvania - 32%

NREL also reported on the breakdown by state of the number of homes HERS rated in 2016. The top states with HERS rated homes in 2016 are:

  1. Texas - 40,012
  2. North Carolina - 13,397
  3. Arizona - 12,522
  4. Florida - 12,484
  5. Colorado - 12,320

The lower a home’s HERS Index Score is, the better the home’s efficiency. A typical existing home (built before 2000) scores well over 100 on the HERS Index while a standard new home, in most states, will receive a score between 75 and 90. Each 1-point decrease in the HERS Index corresponds to a 1% reduction in energy consumption compared to a model energy efficient home. For existing homes, a home energy audit can provide the homeowner with a HERS Index Score and a detailed report regarding energy problems in the house.

Lastly, NREL reported on the breakdown by state of the average HERS Index Score of homes HERS rated in 2016. The states with the lowest average HERS Index scores of HERS rated homes in 2016 are:

  1. Maine - 26
  2. Hawaii - 45
  3. Montana - 46
  4. Minnesota - 51
  5. Wisconsin - 52
  6. Nebraska - 52
  7. New York - 53
  8. Connecticut - 53
  9. Delaware - 53
  10. South Dakota - 53
  11. Colorado - 55
  12. Massachusetts – 55


Valerie Briggs is RESNET's Communications Director.

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Comment by Debra Little on September 15, 2017 at 11:26am

The avg scores are interesting. Are there comparative numbers for previous years? I thought they reported closer to 50% of new construction in US a few years back.  

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