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Arkansas Proposes Requirement for HERS Index Score Label on All New Homes

Sep 10, 2013

The Arkansas Economic Development Commission – Energy Office has announced that it will promulgate rules to update Arkansas’ residential energy code and require that all new homes in the state receive an energy rating and a HERS Index Score label.

The proposed rules are designed to improve market recognition of energy efficiency. Energy ratings, which are similar to the miles-per-gallon ratings assigned to cars, would be generated by a certified RESNET Home Energy Rater. The HERS Index is a nationally recognized measurement of a home’s energy performance. To date, more than one million homes have been issued a HERS rating.

“The State is proposing these changes as a consumer-driven, market-based approach that directly engages the private sector and helps create jobs,” said AEO’s Deputy Director J.D. Lowery. “Through a collaborative stakeholder process, we received input from builders, code officials, raters, utilities, realtors and appraisers that this was a direction that addresses longstanding concerns that impact code compliance and further investment in energy efficiency.”

According to the South East Energy Efficiency Alliance, “Home energy rating and labeling can produce significant, cross-cutting benefits for multiple stakeholder groups. It allows consumers to fully understand the long-term costs associated with owning a home and to recoup the value of investments in energy efficiency measures through a home’s resale price. Expenditures on energy in Arkansas currently average 5.1 percent of household median income – the ninth-highest in the nation. Home energy rating and labeling directly addresses cost issues; in fact, a recent survey by the Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation shows that Arkansans favor home energy labeling two-to-one.”

In addition, home labeling provides an opportunity for builders to gain market recognition for high quality, energy-efficient building practices. It reduces the chances for “green washing,” helping to ensure that only those who have invested in producing an efficient home are able to market it as such.

“Arkansas continues to earn its reputation as a regional energy efficiency leader,” said SEEA President Mandy Mahoney. “Building rating and labeling provides a clear path to energy efficiency market growth – on top of producing major gains for consumers and the building community.”

Following a stakeholder process, the rules must be approved by the Arkansas General Assembly’s Joint Energy Committee and Administrative Rules and Regulations Subcommittee. The public comment period will be open until October 4. For more information, visit http://arkansasenergy.org/residential/builders/energy-code.aspx