“HERS test” key to determining housing affordability

Posted On: September 29, 2020

This week in Birmingham, Alabama Power sent certified RESNET HERS Raters to the North Titusville neighborhood to conduct a HERS Test on at least four new homes developed by the Titusville Development Corporation. TDC also owns and manages over $1.0M in apartments and Affordable Senior Housing duplexes in the community.

Why is a HERS Test important?

How much a family pays for utilities and maintenance can put a strain on the budget. Families that pay a larger percentage of their monthly income towards utility costs have what’s called a “high energy burden.” A HERS test can help predict how much a family will spend on utilities.

hers test

HERS is an acronym for Home Energy Rating System. According to the Resnet HERS website, the “Index measures a home’s energy efficiency.” It’s a scale of zero to 150. The higher the rating, the more energy the home uses, and thus, the more the family must pay for utilities. The lower the HERS Test score, the better it is for the family budget.

To score a home, a certified rater compares the structure’s energy rating to “‘reference home’– a designed-model home of the same size and shape as the actual home, so your score is always relative to the size, shape and type of house you live in.”

Why it matters to Navigate

Navigate Affordable Housing Partners believes housing affordability is about more than the cost of the rent or mortgage. Every home that Navigate builds is focused on providing the families with the highest quality housing possible.  We want to make sure families don’t have ‘sticker shock’ when it comes to energy costs.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates a typical resale home will rate a HERS Test score of 130 while a standard new home comes in at about 100. Navigate aims to build homes with an average score of 58. According to the Resnet calculator, this will save our residents more than $700 a year. That’s an average savings of about $60 a month.

This lower HERS Test score means housing will be more affordable not only because the rent or mortgage is lower. The energy bills will be lower, too.


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