Grow Your Home Improvement Business Using the HERS Rating
Energy costs continue to consume more and more of the average American household budget. Just take a look at your home energy bills on a monthly basis and compare them to several years ago.
The price of electricity, home heating oil, and other energy sources continues to escalate. Rapid price increases have caused homeowners to look for opportunities to improve energy efficiency.
Home improvement contractors have an great opportunity to grab a piece of this market. The demand for construction services that enhance a home’s energy efficiency continues to grow. Different home improvement contractors have an opportunity to take place in this market. These trades include electricians, roofers and insulating contractors.
Besides these traditional home improvement trades, there are new services offered to homeowners. Among these are solar power contractors. They are designing and installing solar arrays on residential projects. New product designs and installation methods are continuing to be introduced to the market.
Elon Musk recently launched Tesla’s solar roof shingles. Significant money is being invested into developing these new technologies. Contractor opportunities will continue to grow as the consumer demand grows for these products.
Successful home improvement contractors work with clients in a consultative sales method. Homeowners are more educated in today’s environment than at any other time in history. They have done their research. They have a good understanding of their options before they reach out to the contractor. It is the contractor’s job to advise their clients and help them make the best decision possible.
Most contractors specialize in the installation of a certain type of product. In some instances, they will choose to work with a specific manufacturer. Home improvement contractors use these relationships to build their businesses. They become familiar with these products and companies. Often, customers seek those contractors out because of their reputation with that manufacturer or product.
RESNET (Residential Energy Services Network) has developed the HERS Rating. HERS is an acronym that stands for Home Energy Rating System. It was created by RESNET to provide a standard system for evaluating the energy efficiency of a home. RESNET calls their rating system a miles per gallon rating for the home. This allows home buyers to be able to compare the energy performance of homes for sale.
Also, the HERS rating allows a homeowner to prioritize their home energy efficiency projects. Over time, it allows them to see the improvement in their home’s energy efficiency. Homeowners can see the greatest potential return on investment from their projects.
Contractors can use the HERS Rating to help their clients prioritize home improvements. Homeowners can see the impact renovations may have on the home’s energy efficiency. Also, customers can track the improvement in energy efficiency over time. Homeowners may also use the rating system to improve the value of the home for resale.
How to Get Started Using HERS Rating in Your Home Improvement Business
- Join RESNET – RESNET is a third-party membership group that helps boost the credibility of the home improvement company. A third party credential helps contractors differentiate themselves from their competition.
- Participate in RESNET Training – Certification as an Energy Smart Contractor requires specific training. Training is offered through RESNET and must be completed on a regular basis to retain the certification.
- Market your certification – Once you have the certification as an Energy Smart Contractor you can then move forward marketing your company. Share the certification with your customers and clients to show the value that you bring to the table.
Developing a focus on energy efficiency will help a contractor expand their market. They can approach the customer in a consultative method. They can help the homeowner understand where they are best able to make changes to their home.
The contractor can work with a HERS Rater or he may perform the energy analysis for the home. The contractor will be using specialized methods to perform the energy analysis. These methods may include blower door tests and infrared analysis of the home’s shell. These testing methods require specialized tools such as blower doors and infrared cameras. Additional training may be necessary to use these tools.
Let’s look at an example of how a home improvement contractor can grow their business.
Mr. and Mrs. Jones have a three bedroom two bath home in a nice suburban neighborhood. They have lived in the home for ten years. They have two children who are approaching their teenage years. Both work outside of the home.
Recently Mrs. Jones has noticed that the energy costs for the home are increasing on a monthly basis. She has reviewed the electric bills as well as the natural gas bills. Both are increasing in cost because of the cost of energy as well as an increase in total consumption.
Mr. and Mrs. Jones toss around some ideas about how they can improve the energy efficiency of their home. They consider doing some small home improvement projects on their own. But they are unsure if their efforts will have any impact on the home’s energy efficiency.
Finally, they settle on having a HERS Rater visit the home and complete an energy analysis. The HERS Rater completes a home energy analysis. She provides the homeowners with a HERS Rating. The study includes an infrared scan of the home’s shell. The HERS Rater recommends an Energy Smart Contractor for the homeowners to work with. The contractor will develop pricing for improvements that can impact the home’s energy costs.
The Energy Smart Contractor visits the home and reviews the HERS Rating. He develops pricing to address the biggest opportunities to cut energy expenses. The infrared analysis located cold spots in the exterior walls. The contractor may propose insulating these cavities. The blower door test found leaking windows. The contractor has an opportunity to provide window replacements.
Home improvement contractors have a great opportunity in the energy efficiency market. They can grow their business by offering services to help homeowners control their costs. Customers are sensitive to their monthly operating costs for their homes. Helping customers improve their homes energy efficiency eliminates their pain points. It also helps customers increase the value of their most valuable asset.