RESNET HERS Rater Certification

Become a HERS Rater After Viewing These RESNET FAQs

HERS Rater Certification is a viable option for home builders, HVAC technicians, insulation contractors, and others working in the home performance industry. You may be wondering if it's right the career choice for you. Here's a breakdown of our 14 most commonly asked questions regarding RESNET and HERS Rater Certification.

Become a HERS Rater After Viewing These RESNET FAQs

As you research what it takes to become a HERS Rater, this list of FAQs should answer all of your questions and put you on the right path. 

Getting Started: An Introduction

How to Become a HERS Rater

Why HERS Raters Are Successful

RESNET logo 


What does RESNET stand for?

RESNET stands for Residential Energy Services Network. RESNET is a non-profit organization that created technical standards for home energy auditing and home energy rating.

What is the difference between a home energy audit and home energy rating?

HERS Raters are trained to do both home energy audits and home energy ratings.

  • Home energy audits involve a prioritized list of improvements and a projected cost/benefit for each of the improvements. A HERS Rater directs customers to a qualified contractor to implement the suggest improvements.
  • Home energy ratings generally apply to new home construction or major remodeling. The HERS Rater evaluates all the systems in the home and inputs the results into sophisticated computer software. The software can identify how energy-efficient the home is compared to the standard home built to code. This score, or rating, is based on an index. If the rating is 15% better than code, it may qualify the home for the prestigious ENERGY STAR Homes designation.

What does HERS stand for?

HERS stands for Home Energy Rating System. This system is represented by an index of scores from 0 to 100, where 100 represents the energy use of the standard home built to code and 0 represents a home that uses no net purchased energy.

What does a HERS Rater do?

Using building science knowledge, a HERS Rater performs home energy audits to help clients reduce energy use in a home (and therefore lower the HERS score). He/she performs a series of diagnostic tests inside the home to evaluate insulation, ventilation, window and lightbulb efficiency, utility rate structures, combustion appliance safety, etc. This information will be entered into energy modeling software, which identifies how energy-efficient the home is compared to the standard home built to code. This is how the HERS Rater acquires the HERS Score – a number that represents the home’s energy use in a quick and precise manner.

Who should earn a HERS Rater Certification?

The RESNET standards are best applied to new homes because the HERS Rater is able to predict energy use of a prospective home from blueprints and provide the builder with feedback on how to better optimize systems in the home for enhanced energy efficiency. Any new construction professional interested in energy savings or home improvement may take an interest in RESNET HERS Rater Certification. Those occupations may include:

  • Builders
  • General contractors
  • HVAC technicians
  • Insulation contractors
  • Home inspectors

What are the steps for becoming a certified HERS Rater?

Put in its simplest form, the steps to become a certified HERS Rater are as follows:

1. Pass the RESNET Core Written Exam with a score of 80% or higher

2. Pass the RESNET Practical Simulation Exam

3. Pass the RESNET Combustion Safety Written Exam with a score of 80% or higher

4. Pass the RESNET Combustion Safety Simulation Exam with a score of 85% or higher

5. Complete 5 home energy ratings

6. Partner with an approved RESNET Quality Assurance Provider

The easiest way to complete these steps is to enroll in a RESNET Training program. Such a program includes these components, saving candidates from piecing together each part separately. We believe in a “one-stop-shop” mentality, so our all-inclusive program provides everything that is needed to earn the HERS Rater Certification.

To learn more about the idiosyncrasies of each step, please call us at (800) 460-2575.

What is a Quality Assurance Provider or QAD?

Quality assurance (QA) is the process by which a third party reviews the home energy ratings submitted by a HERS Rater to ensure compliance with the RESNET standards.

The RESNET standards specify that a QA Provider must check 10% of a Rater’s energy modeling files and perform an on-site QA review of 1% of a Rater’s rated homes each year.

A QAD, or Quality Assurance Designee, is a person who works for a Quality Assurance Provider in the role of reviewing home energy ratings submitted by HERS Rater. RESNET QADs are experienced HERS Raters themselves, having rated at least 25 homes and earned a passing score on the QAD test. There are a slew of additional qualifications to ensure that a HERS Rater is knowledgeable enough to become a QAD.

How long does it take to become a HERS Rater?

Participants have one year from the time of training to complete all of the certification requirements, namely working with their Quality Assurance Provider to complete the remaining 2-3 home energy ratings.

It is only after candidates completes all requirements that they can call themselves a certified HERS Rater.

What topics are covered in a RESNET training course?

The RESNET HERS Rater training is designed to help you become a certified home energy auditor and home energy rater. During the course, you will learn building science principles, including home depressurization, duct pressure diagnostics, duct tightness testing and verification, combustion appliance safety, thermal and pressure boundary evaluation, work scope prioritization, and home energy modeling.

Is HERS Rater Certification recognized nationwide?

Yes and no. HERS Rater Certification is recognized nationwide, with the exception of California. California puts its own spin on the HERS Rater program. 

California’s HERS Index is a scale of 0 to 250. The CA HERS Rater designation is called California Whole-House Home Energy Rater. Because of its unique building code requirements and state-specific legislation, California has strict requirements on how HERS training shall be conducted. CalCERTS is the only organization in the U.S. approved to provide HERS training in California.

What are the benefits of becoming a HERS Rater?

As a certified HERS Rater, you will be able to do the following:

  • Help homeowners save more on their energy bills
  • Negotiate better pay and more referrals
  • Participate in utility programs that require a HERS Rater
  • Enhance your marketability and grow your business

On a more tangible level, here’s a sample listing of the organizations and programs that encourage RESNET:

  • ENERGY STAR Certified Homes program
  • 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC)
  • RESNET EnergySmart Builders
  • U.S. Department of Energy’s Building America Program in partnership with Habitat for Humanity
  • Residential Green and Energy Efficient Addendum
  • Multiple Listing Service

Will I be able to meet my state’s energy code, which requires blower door and duct testing, if I have a HERS Rater Certification?

Most state codes do not explicitly list RESNET HERS Rater Certification as a way of fulfilling its requirements. However, the skills learned in a HERS Rater course will help you to fulfill the state code requirements for blower door and duct testing. The RESNET HERS Rater course covers blower door and duct testing to fulfill the 2012 and 2015 IECC building codes.

Furthermore, the 2015 IECC includes a compliance path that relies on the HERS index. Builders who choose this option work with a certified HERS Rater to make informed decisions on insulation, windows, etc. that will meet the code requirements. So states that have adopted 2015 IECC – AL, FL, HI, IL, MD, MI, NJ, NM, and VT (so far) – offer great job opportunities for HERS Raters.

What equipment will I need to work as a HERS Rater?

As a home energy auditor, you will be using the following equipment (at a minimum):

  • Blower door
  • Duct blaster
  • Manometer 
  • Carbon monoxide analyzer
  • Combustible gas leak detector
  • Infrared camera

HERS Raters can be self-employed or part of a larger energy efficiency company. Equipment prices range by manufacturer, date, or whether the equipment is used or new. Our students receive a 12.5% discount from The Energy Conservatory and a 14% discount from Retrotec.

Ready to Become a RESNET HERS Rater?

If you’re ready to move forward with HERS Rater training, register online or give us a call at (800) 460-2575.

About Lesley Baulding

Lesley has been passionately advocating for and working with green building and renewable energy since 2009. She has experience with LEED certification, home energy auditing, blower door testing, solar energy, and more. She holds many certifications, including LEED Green Associate and NABCEP Certification. Her work has won numerous awards over the past decade.