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RESNET/HFHI Promote Sustainable Affordable Housing and HERS® Awareness

Sep 28, 2021


Habitat for Humanity International® (HFHI) and RESNET have entered into a formal collaboration to promote the work of their members and promote affordable housing that is also sustainable.

HFHI supports local Habitat affiliates across the country in building efficient, healthy, and affordable housing which is sold to qualifying buyers. RESNET provides oversight and resources for HERS® professionals, helping builders achieve and labeling high energy performing homes.

As part of the collaboration RESNET and HFHI will cross-promote the HERS® ratings as the metric of energy efficient homes and the efforts of Habitat in creating efficient, affordable homes. The goal is to create tools each organization’s members can use to demonstrate the alliance between energy efficiency and long-term affordable housing.

Initial activities covered in the collaboration include:

• Promote to Habitat for Humanity affiliates the use of certified RESNET HERS® Raters and the HERS® Index to document the energy efficiency of the homes that the affiliate builds.

• Promote to HERS® Raters the benefits for contracting with Habitat affiliates to provide HERS® Index Scores. HERS® Raters will encourage these relationships as a way to give back to the communities in which the raters serve.

• A new Habitat for Humanity/RESNET Seal (see above). This Seal will be available for customization and download by any Habitat affiliate entering into a contract with a certified RESNET HERS® Rater. The affiliate can tailor the Seal with their location and title to advertise their commitment to verified, efficient construction. The Rater can use the Seal to demonstrate support for Habitat’s work in energy conscious, affordable homes. Terms of these contracts are completely at the discretion of the Habitat affiliate and the HERS® Rater, providing each abide by the terms of the Seal Use Guidelines developed by HFHI.

• RESNET will identify program participants on their website, and Habitat for Humanity International will list HERS® Raters on their affiliate intranet interactive map.

• In addition, HFHI and RESNET will create annual case studies to highlight successful partnerships between Raters and Habitat affiliates.

Through this effort, HFHI and RESNET will deepen the knowledge and appreciation of both the HERS® rating and the achievements of Habitat in creating sustainably efficient, affordable homes.

Jonathan Reckford, Chief Executive Officer of Habitat for Humanity International, will be the keynote speaker at the 2021 RESNET Virtual Building Performance Conference that will take place February 22-24, 2021. In his keynote address, Jonathan will cover Habitat for Humanity’s commitment to sustainability, how RESNET and Habitat for Humanity work together, and the role of certified RESNET HERS® Raters in meeting the organization’s goals.

In addition, HFHI’s Director of U.S. Construction Edwin Hensley will be participating in a panel discussion on the “Nexus of Affordability and Energy Efficiency: A Discussion” on Day 1 of the RESNET 2021 Virtual Conference.

The following sessions will be offered by HFHI at the Prerecorded On Demand Conference Sessions:

• HERS® and the Affordable Housing Crisis

• Resilient + Efficient + Affordable = Sustainable

The 2021 RESNET Virtual Conference is a not-to-miss event for building performance professionals.  For more information and to register go to RESNET 2021 Virtual Conference

Habitat for Humanity International is the 17th largest homebuilder in the U.S. closing 4,334 homes in 2018. To date, Habitat has built 10,910 homes that were HERS® rated. The average HERS® Index Score of a Habitat home built in 2019 is 54. This means that Habitat built homes in 2019 were 46% more efficient than a home built nationally in 2006. The average HERS® Index Score of homes rated in the U.S. in 2020 is 58.

The Hartford Area Habitat for Humanity was recently recognized with the Connecticut Green Building Council’s Residential Award of Honor for constructing its first net-zero energy home with a HERS® Index Score of -7.

Habitat for Humanity has a long history of building energy-efficient homes. In the January 2020 Builder of the Month profile on hersindex.com, Habitat for Humanity International’s Vice President of U.S. Operations Sue Henderson noted that “the (HERS) Index is an incredibly valuable tool to local Habitat organizations across the country. As an affordable home builder, we recognize the cost of a home doesn’t start and end with the purchase price – it includes utility and maintenance expenses as well. Many local Habitat organizations use the HERS® Index as a tool to plan the most cost-efficient home for the up-front investment. The HERS® Index has broad recognition as an indicator of efficiency; Habitat homes consistently post low indices, demonstrating our success in building truly efficient, quality homes.”