The New Common-Sense Building


By William Janhonen.

Since the revolution of green building standards, our understanding of Building Science has changed, paving the way for improved building codes and methods. The term “Green Building” could now be replaced with the term “CommonSense Building,” as eco-friendly features become the more sensible standards in the industry.

The future of building performance had been championed by RESNET (Residential Energy Services Network), a company that has provided insight and testing standards with stringent oversight by professionals since 1996. Their mission is to make the energy use of all homes transparent, thereby driving residential sector energy use toward net zero.

The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) index is the industry standard by which a home’s energy efficiency is measured. It’s also the nationally recognized system for inspecting and calculating a home’s energy performance. The HERS index includes all aspects of the home, such as insulation, windows, mechanical equipment, wall and basement construction, orientation, lighting, air tightness and much more. The lower the score, the more efficient the home. A home with a HERS rating of 50 is 50 percent more energy efficient than a standard new home, and 80 percent more efficient than the average resale home – which already puts it in a better bracket than a standard new home.

Starting with the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), the Energy Rating Index (ERI) performance path allows a state or jurisdiction adopting the IECC to specify which qualifying ERI method it will use. RESNET’s HERS index, based on ANSI RESNET Standard 301-2014, is the existing compliant ERI method and is nationally recognized for inspecting and calculating a home’s energy performance. To date, more than 1.5 million homes have been rated in the U.S. under the RESNET standards. In 2013, half of all new homes were rated and issued a HERS index score.


The 2017 RESNET Building Performance Conference is the national forum on home energy ratings, existing home retrofits, building codes and energy policy, and will take place February 27-March 1 at the Scottsdale Resort and Conference Center.

The RESNET Building Performance Conference offers strategic options to the business challenges and provides a venue where attendees can obtain usable solutions in an evolving industry. Attendees will find an exceptional range of original content and fresh information for the home performance industry. The theme of this year’s conference is “ALL IN!”

With the evolution of green building, we can create a future where saving energy, making homes healthier and more durable, and saving water become the common-sense standards in the industry.

For more on this year’s RESNET conference, visit

William Janhonen is a National Instructor for NAHB, HERS Rater, LEED Accredited Professional and construction consultant. He was the LEED Project Administrator for the LEED for Commercial Interiors Project at Sikorsky Aircraft, which recently achieved LEED Gold certification.

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