Leading Raters of America Launches

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A new rating organization has been formed to address the needs of large U.S. home building companies.

Leading Raters of America (LRA) has been formed by four member companies who share a common vision for independently verified residential and commercial energy efficiency in America’s homes, businesses, and institutions.

Matthew Cooper, senior vice president of PEG LLC and LRA inaugural president, says the organization was formed to tackle market needs that are not currently being addressed. “Our primary focus is to enhance awareness of the rating industry with production builders and to provide business savvy support for rating companies of any size to compete for the business of larger builders,” he says.

Filling a White Space — Quickly

LRA plans to move quickly to get its rating services into the market. The organization put out a request for qualifications, soliciting companies who would like to become a Rating Certification Body for LRA member companies. Cooper hopes to have applications wrapped up by November 3. “It’s a fast turnaround, but that’s the point,” he says. “We are moving at the same pace that production builders are forced to move. Economic challenges are coming, and we sense that if we don’t help the space now, we will have missed an opportunity.”

To date, RESNET has been the major rating provider with its popular HERS rating, but, according to Cooper, more companies may be entering the rating market soon. He points out, as one example, that Energy Star for New Homes may open its Verification Oversight Organization to new entities.

“RESNET is on a path of writing standards and going through the long process of public comment and public responses,” he says. “We feel that in addition to writing standards there is a desperate need for the industry to have more focus and attention on members and deliverable potential. We need to show builders that rating providers can help them overcome cost and labor challenges.”

Cooper notes that builders like Pulte and KB Home are sophisticated and have the bandwidth and the staff to work with qualified raters, but claims that the companies building 3,500 or fewer homes a year don’t have the same bandwidth and can’t take advantage the new technologies and skills out there to help them compete in today’s market.

Boon for Rating Industry

LRA takes a rising-tide-floats-all-boats standpoint, emphasizing that when the rating industry grows, it will grow all of the rating companies in the space, including RESNET.

RESNET sees it the same way. “The RESNET Board and staff recognize the importance of the large volume Rating Providers to RESNET, and understand that they may have different business models and needs,” says Valerie Briggs, RESNET’s communications director. “RESNET is going to enter into a dialogue with the members of LRA regarding the quality of HERS Ratings, RESNET’s service to large rating providers, and growth strategies for our industry.”

Member companies of the Leading Raters of America include PEG, LLC, Energy Inspectors Corporation, TopBuild Home Services Inc. and US-EcoLogic/TexEnergy.  

If you are interested in becoming a Rating Certification Body for LRA member companies, download the complete RFQ here (due date October 10).

Read Matthew Cooper’s thoughts on how energy raters can grow market share in this CodeWatcher article.


Photo by Montgomery County Planning Commission