Background of the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Program

The California Energy Commission is required by Public Resources Code Section 25942 to establish criteria for a statewide home energy rating program for residential dwellings. The goal of the program is to create a consistent, accurate, and uniform rating system based on a single statewide rating scale that can serve to differentiate the energy efficiency levels between California homes and to prioritize the investment in cost-effective home energy efficiency measures.

The first iteration of the California HERS regulations, which became effective on June 17, 1999, established the requirements for Field Verification and Diagnostic Testing services used to show compliance with the Title 24, Part 6; Building Energy Efficiency Standards. These regulations also established the basic framework for HERS Rater training, certification, and quality assurance.

The 2009 update to the HERS Regulations included the requirements for California Whole-House Home Energy Ratings. These Ratings apply to existing and newly constructed residential buildings that include single-family homes and multi-family buildings of three stories or less. The HERS Regulations and the HERS Technical Manual establish a systematic process for the delivery of California Whole-House Home Energy Ratings to provide California homeowners and prospective home buyers with information about the energy efficiency of the homes they live in or are considering for purchase. The Ratings also provide an evaluation of the cost-effectiveness of options that can improve the energy efficiency in these homes.

The 2009 update also established a special designation that goes along with the California Whole-House Home Energy Rating program called the HERS Building Performance Contractor. A HERS Building Performance Contractor includes a contractor who is licensed by the California Contractors State License Board as a Class B General Building Contractor and who is, or who employs, a person certified as a California Whole-House Home Energy Rater who has successfully completed an Energy Commission-approved HERS Building Performance Contractor training program and who holds building science certifications from the Building Performance Institute (BPI). A HERS Building Performance Contractor evaluates the comfort and safety aspects of a home in conjunction with the home's energy efficiency in order to install energy efficient measures that will result in the best possible performance of a home.

The training, certification, and quality assurance of HERS Raters conducting Field Verification and Diagnostic Testing services as well as HERS Raters conducting Whole-House Home Energy Ratings is administered by California Energy Commission-approved HERS Providers