Who We Are
In January, 2005, the Northeast HERS Alliance incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation with 118 members: 14 accredited providers, 90 raters, 7 associate members, 1 training provider, and 6 program members. In February, the members adopted a set of bylaws and elected the first Board of Directors.
The Northeast Home Energy Rating System (NEHERS) Alliance was formed in 1998 to foster, unify and promote HERS programs in the Northeast (i.e. New England, New York and New Jersey). Since that time, the Alliance and its 20+ member organizations have developed goals and objectives for achieving its mission of standardizing and increasing home energy ratings (HERS), energy mortgages (EM's), and ENERGY STAR Homes throughout the region, which include:
- Developing and strengthening the competency and capacity of the emerging HERS programs in the Northeast; and
- Coordinating and unifying the HERS programs in the region in order to achieve and maintain national HERS accreditation.
- Serving as a mechanism to promote adherence to the national HERS guidelines and standards within the Northeast region.
By coordinating and standardizing the most important components of the regional HERS programs, the Alliance increases individual and overall HERS program effectiveness and develops a strong regional foundation from which existing and emerging programs can flourish. To facilitate enhanced regional program recognition and consumer outreach capacity, the Alliance has and will continue to develop strategic partnerships with a variety of housing and energy industry professionals and organizations regionally and nationally.
There are now accredited HERS providers (link to Accredited HERS providers map) in every state in the Northeast--one of the early goals of the Alliance--and the numbers continue to grow. Many of these providers have both successful HERS programs and demonstrated management and technical excellence in many broad-based initiatives related to residential energy efficiency.
Why the Region Needs the NEHERS Alliance
Home energy ratings are increasingly used for program compliance and support throughout the Northeast. Some of the existing initiatives utilizing ratings include the following:
- ENERGY STAR Homes certification;
- Demand-side management program compliance;
- System benefits charge program compliance;
- State residential energy code compliance;
- Energy Mortgage program qualification; and
- Affordable housing standards compliance.
In the future, there will likely be expanded uses for HERS, since it is the only means of measuring the energy efficiency performance of homes with fully developed and accepted national standards and guidelines. The national secondary market lenders (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, etc.), Department of Energy, HUD, state agencies and others all recognize this fact and will likely increase usage of HERS in their programs and initiatives in the future. Some of these are likely to include:
- Federal energy tax credits;
- Mortgage and other financing programs with incentives tied to energy efficiency;
- Federal housing program standards; and
- Green building certification programs.
- Provides members with business and partnership opportunities in the HERS industry through sharing of information with other industry professionals and timely announcements about recent requests for proposals and grants;
- Ensures a coordinated and technically consistent infrastructure for government agencies, utilities, and other energy efficiency program delivery organizations and networks;
- Facilitates a coordinated and strong regional voice on the RESNET Board of Directors as well as in the national political and regulatory arenas to ensure member interests are heard;
- Allows the HERS industry to prepare jointly for the time when residential energy tax credits based on ratings are available, and to protect member interests in the process by maintaining high and consistent standards;
- Provides the only central repository listing certified HERS Raters in the Northeast and other accredited HERS provider, trainer, and program information;
- Provides a member and industry related forum to share and discuss emerging practices and measures as well as new information relevant to the HERS industry and energy efficiency programs (e.g. EPA initiatives, new Fannie Mae products, RFPs, etc.);
- Ensures coordinated and cost effective HERS rater training in a market that could not support competing training efforts;
- Provides a vehicle for implementing the RESNET quality assurance standards;
- Coordinates efforts between different groups with a similar interest to ensure that professional standards and practices are consistent and maintained at a high level (e.g. Building Performance Institute, EPA, RESNET).
Home energy ratings are administered using a uniform nationally standardized system. This system has been developed, fully vetted and approved by not only the HERS industry itself, but by the industries, organizations and government agencies interested in ensuring balanced, non-biased, independent and substantiated rating results. Some of these include Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO), US EPA, US DOE, HUD and others. The years of work has resulted in the following:
- accredited HERS providers that have been scrutinized and measured against national standards for quality control systems, competency, use of qualified raters and accurate software;
- energy rating software that meets the national technical guidelines;
- a rater training curriculum and testing that have been developed and approved by the best building science and rating trainers nationally; and
- certified raters that have met strong prerequisites, been trained to the national standards, passed a comprehensive test demonstrating full knowledge of buildings, energy and ratings, and conducted a minimum number of supervised in-field energy ratings.
The NEHERS Alliance plays an important role in the region by growing and supporting a standardized HERS infrastructure. The Alliance takes these national standards and administers them regionally to ensure uniformity, consistency and quality assurance throughout the Northeast. Without the Alliance, there would be no oversight or support to ensure that:
- the national standards are being upheld;
- raters really are deserving of certification and are providing the most competent services possible;
- designated supervisors meet a minimum level of field experience and technical expertise;
- the right rating results are being provided to customers consistently; and
- new entities interested in offering HERS services have an established way to enter the marketplace.
If you would like more information about the HERS Alliance or its programs, please contact us.