Home Energy Raters are energy professionals who are trained and certified to evaluate a home’s features and prepare an energy efficiency rating. Experienced raters are adept in assessing a home’s projected energy performance either from construction drawings or by physically inspecting the home.
Raters may develop a wide variety of technical skills, but first and foremost they must be grounded in Building Science. Raters produce a Home Energy Rating by entering the home’s dimensions, physical characteristics and specifications into energy modeling software accredited through the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET®). Raters are experienced at performing site inspections and diagnosing problems and opportunities using a blower door to test the tightness of the home and a duct blaster to test duct leakage. To keep technically sharp and maintain knowledge of the latest Building Science concepts, raters are required to acquire a minimum number of continuing education credits to earn re-certification.
Energy ratings are currently used for:
- Verification of a home’s energy performance for EPA’s ENERGY STAR Homes Program
- Verification of energy savings for energy efficient mortgages (EEMs)
- Performance option for energy code compliance in growing number of states
- Verification of energy performance in state utility benefit program funded residential energy efficiency programs in multiple states
- Verification of a home's eligibility for federal income tax credits for builders
The HERS industry relies on a nationally established system of quality assurance (QA) and oversight to ensure that raters meet minimum qualifications and follow established protocols for performing energy ratings. This QA system allows housing stakeholders such as lenders, realtors, low-income housing developers, and utility companies to trust the validity of energy ratings to establish the energy efficiency of a home. In theory any certified rater should be able to reach the same rating results reached by any other rater.
If you are interested in learning more about the energy raters, we recommend that you start your research on our website and also visiting the RESNET website. The Northeast HERS Alliance supports RESNET’s mission to “increase the opportunity for ownership of high performance buildings.”
Before entering the field, we encourage you to become familiar with what rater training entails and the level of technical knowledge required to pass the National Rater exam. On our website you will learn the requirements and process for becoming certified. In addition, you should investigate the cost of required equipment. NEHERS is an educational organization and Accredited HERS Rater TRAINING Provider, not an Accredited HERS RATING provider, so you will have to do the leg work of planning how you will complete the certification process, and establish through which accredited HERS Provider you will become certified.
Last but not least, if you are not already employed by an organization that performs ratings, we recommend that you develop a few good ideas for attracting clients once you are certified. While existing companies are likely to hire new raters in the coming years, many certified raters will choose self-employment and will market their services independently. Once you have learned as much as you can about the rating field and perhaps have even drafted a business plan, there is a greater chance that you can successfully begin your rating business and thrive thereafter.
In this age of global climate change, diminishing fossil fuel supplies, and heavy reliance on foreign oil supply, the rating field is an exciting one to enter. We hope you will consider taking our training, attending our monthly conference calls, and of course, joining NEHERS to support and strengthen this important field.