Yesterday, at the Energy & Environmental Building Alliance’s High Performance Home Summit, U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm announced the grand award winners of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) 2021 Housing Innovation Awards, the highest honor builders can receive for constructing Zero Energy Ready Homes.

Watch Secretary Granholm’s remarks.

These high-performance homes are so energy efficient—often 40 to 50% more efficient than typical new homes—that they can easily offset most or all the energy they consume with renewable energy.

“President Biden is determined to execute the boldest climate agenda in our nation’s history,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “That path runs right through the stock of our 129 million residential and commercial buildings. Right now, our buildings use roughly 40% of the nation’s energy, 75% of its electricity, and account for a little over a third of our carbon emissions. Through energy efficiency improvements, we can eliminate waste, lower our bills, reduce pollution, make people healthier, and create tens of thousands of jobs.”

Discover what Zero Energy Ready Homes offer here.

DOE’s Zero Energy Ready Home program, administered by DOE’s Building Technologies Office, sets the federal government’s most rigorous labeling guidelines for new residential construction. These homes deliver these performance levels thanks to independent, third-party verifiers that certify Zero Energy Ready Homes to higher standards of energy performance, health, and durability. This year’s awards feature 29 homes from 27 builders across 14 states. These homes and home builders are achieving extraordinary levels of excellence in energy and performance specified in the Zero Energy Ready Home national program requirements.

The 2021 Housing Innovation Award Grand Winners are:

A complete list of all the 2021 Housing Innovation Award Winners can found here

Zero Energy Ready Homes are built to a higher standard of efficiency, health, and durability, all designed to provide a superior homeowner experience. In short, Zero Energy Ready Homes live better. To earn the label, homes must meet program requirements and be independently verified by a qualified third-party. The program specifications are designed to take a comprehensive approach to new home construction with requirements that not only focus on energy efficiency, but also a healthy living environment, and improved durability and performance through advanced building practices and risk mitigation strategies.

Every DOE Zero Energy Ready Home starts with ENERGY STAR Certified Homes Version 3.0/3.1/3.2 for an energy-efficient home built on a solid foundation of building science research. To ensure a healthy living environment, homes must also meet the requirements of the EPA Indoor airPLUS program which provides additional construction specifications to provide comprehensive indoor air quality protections in new homes. Further, proven innovations and advanced technologies from the Building America program are integrated into the homes, as well as high-performance HVAC, lighting, and appliances.  Lastly, the program requires solar-ready components for low or no utility bills in a quality home that will last for generations to come.

To qualify for the Housing Innovation Awards, homes must first be certified as a Zero Energy Ready Home by a qualified third-party verifier in compliance with national program requirements. All certified homes that have not been previously submitted for a Housing Innovation Award are eligible for the awards. Applications are reviewed by a judging panel consisting of national experts from across the building industry. The judges base their reviews on criteria that include energy performance metrics, land development, design, quality construction, sales and marketing, consumer education, and business metrics.

Learn more about the awards and view winning homes from previous years on the DOE Tour of Zero.

EERE’s mission is to accelerate the research, development, demonstration, and deployment of technologies and solutions to equitably transition America to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions economy-wide by no later than 2050, and ensure the clean energy economy benefits all Americans, creating good paying jobs for the American people—especially workers and communities impacted by the energy transition and those historically underserved by the energy system and overburdened by pollution.