Last updated on October 6, 2023

In August 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) passed Congress and became the single biggest climate investment in US history. It’s not just huge for the natural environment but also for all the pros who construct and renovate the built environment across the country. With a frenzy of federal incentives that began in January 2023, industry experts predict demand for energy efficient residential and commercial buildings to keep growing at a rapid pace.


Southface Institute has decades of experience training and certifying energy raters, and we have courses to help savvy contractors meet the surge in demand. Check out the Q&A below and register for your next (or first) Southface technical training today.


 How is IRA federal funding changing the energy rating industry?

The most significant impact that the IRA has on the energy rating industry is through improvements to the 45L tax credit. This tax credit has existed in some form for years, with Congress consistently renewing it since 2005. Prior to 2023, 45L has rewarded builders with a $2,000 tax credit for building homes that meet certain energy efficiency standards. IRA bolstered 45L in three major ways:


  1. The amount of the tax credit has increased. Now, builders can qualify for a total tax credit of $2,500 to $5,000.
  2. The award criteria have been simplified to align with popular branded certifications. Builders now only need to certify a home through ENERGY STAR or the Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Home certification.
  3. The credit was extended for a full 10 years, through December 31, 2032. Previously, Congress only extended credit eligibility for one year.


With greater, more achievable incentives and the assurance that tax credit will be available for the next decade, the number of builders pursuing 45L is expected to increase dramatically. This increases the demand for energy rating professionals, like certified ENERGY STAR and HERS Raters, to conduct the home ratings that are required to qualify.


What is the difference between HERS and ENERGY STAR credentials?

RESNET’s Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Rater certification is the standard certification for residential energy efficiency and modelling. Southface’s course will equip you to audit and produce an energy rating index or HERS score for any given home. You must first become a HERS Rater to pursue your ENERGY STAR credentials since an ENERGY STAR Certified Home must meet additional efficiency requirements specific to that program. If you are already a HERS Rater, Southface’s ENERGY STAR course is a great next step.


What will I learn in the HERS Rater course?

The HERS Rater course includes all the content and knowledge you will need to become a certified HERS Rater. Throughout the training, you will learn basic and advanced building science principles, combustion safety, building energy code, energy modeling, and field assessment.


What is the course format? Do I need to be in Atlanta for it?

Southface’s lead trainer, Mike Barcik, will host the course live on Zoom. A final field exam is required. Since Southface is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, local students can take the exam in person with our equipment. If you are anywhere else in the US, you can usually find testing equipment to borrow or rent nearby. Find a house to test in your area, and Mike can administer the field exam virtually. Email for questions about taking the field exam virtually.


When is the HERS Rater course?

We are conducting our next HERS Rater training from October 23 through November 15 of 2023. You will have 10 days of classwork from 8:30 am to 1 pm each day followed by three days of testing.


How can I use my HERS certification after the course?

After becoming a certified HERS Rater, you will be able to conduct energy efficiency audits on new and existing homes. This audit will produce an energy rating index, or a HERS score, which is a basic measure of home efficiency. HERS scores are used to qualify for branded energy efficiency certifications, like ENERGY STAR and EarthCraft. As a HERS Rating professional, you will work with builders and contractors to help ensure that their homes meet or exceed energy efficiency standards and earn incentives for doing so.


When is the ENERGY STAR Certified Homes course?

Our next ENERGY STAR training will be held December 11-13, 2023. The course is held from 10 am to 5 pm each day.


How can I get started?

If you have any other questions about our courses, please contact If you’re ready to level up your energy auditing skills and qualifications now, register for the next live online HERS Rater training or ENERGY STAR Certified Homes course today.


Sign up for training announcements from Southface to learn about other opportunities as they arise!


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