Working closely with a HERS Rater is one of the best ways to improve the overall performance of a home. Whether you are a homeowner or a builder, you’ll get more from the relationship if you do a little homework and remember these important points:
Not all HERS Raters are Independent
Just because they have the certificate and the equipment doesn’t mean they’re interested in taking on your project. Many HERS Raters work only with certain builders or have contracts with a Provider or other organization. Even worse, many Raters are also contractors who use the rating to diagnose problems as a sales tool for their services. One of the first questions you should ask is whether they are truly independent, or if they are a contractor with a conflict of interest.
Some Raters Cannot do Sampling
The sampling protocols allow a Rater to conduct HERS Ratings on large projects such as a multifamily housing development, or a production built environment without needing to test every single unit built. There is a strict set of standards for doing this, and quality control is imperative. In addition, the rater must have a contract with a Rating Provider who will allow them to use the sampling protocols. If you are interested in sampling, be sure to ask if they are qualified to do these ratings.
Raters must have a contract with a Provider
Although some raters operate independently, all must have a contract with another company or organization which is in charge of maintaining records of quality assurance and professional credentials. A good way to think of this organization is similar to the realtor-broker relationship. While all your dealings may be directly with the realtor, it is the broker’s signature which meets the legal requirements of the transaction. With HERS Ratings, the Rater cannot print official certificates and tax credit documents. These all must be printed by their Provider. If your rater provides you a report which says DRAFT across the document, it is NOT official and cannot be used as proof of meeting any program requirements. When selecting a rater, you should ask who their Provider is, and get their contact information to make sure that your rater is in good standing and still certified.
Communication is Critical
Since HERS Raters are involved in most projects from start to finish, and at very critical points in between, it’s important that you be able to communicate with them on a regular basis. If you have trouble reaching your Rater on the phone, or via email or text message, start asking yourself if they are the right fit for your project.
Experience is an absolute MUST
Perhaps the most important thing to look for in your search for a HERS Rater, or any home performance professional for that matter, is their level of experience. Book learning and certifications give the Rater only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to knowledge of how homes work. Only after conducting several hundred or even a thousand or more ratings will they have adequate knowledge to narrow down problems and offer a variety of solutions.
In case you’re wondering where this is leading, Great Lakes Home Performance has all five of these criteria covered! While we would like to help everyone who needs a HERS Rating, the testing requirements and site visits limit our service area to primarily the state of Michigan in the U.S. We can certainly help you find answers and professionals in YOUR area as well, so don’t hesitate to contact us. We have also designed this site to provide many of the answers to questions you might have about the rating process and home diagnostics. Be sure to read the other blog posts and check the library for valuable resources and guides.
If you’d like to talk to us about being your HERS Rater, please fill out the contact form and we’ll get back with you quickly!