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The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Housing Innovation Awards recognize the very best in innovation on the path to Zero Energy Ready Homes. Housing Innovation Award winners are selected for each of five categories: custom buyer, custom spec, production, multifamily, and affordable homes. One Grand Award Winner will be announced from among the winners in each of these categories at the Housing Innovation Awards ceremony.  The 2020 Housing Innovation Awards ceremony is scheduled to take place at the EEBA High Performance Home Summit, September 29th-October 1st, in Denver, Colorado. 

*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the HIA ceremony may be moved to a virtual event should the EEBA Summit move to an online platform. 

Winners receive the following:

  • Recognition at the Housing Innovation Awards ceremony.
  • HIA winner plaque for all winners and a crystal trophy for grand winners presented at the award ceremony.
  • A poster of your winning home displayed throughout the EEBA conference the highlights images of the home, performance features, testimonials, and innovative technologies that make the home special. You will also receive a digital copy. 
  • Professional photographs of you or your company representative receiving the award from DOE.
  • Recognition in a DOE press alert informing national media about the Housing Innovation Awards.
  • Pre-approved messaging from DOE for use local press releases and media.
  • A page featuring your award-winning home on the DOE Tour of Zero.
  • Listing on the DOE Housing Innovation Awards webpage.
  • Special recognition on the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home Partner Locator.


  1. Download and complete the application form and collect all of the required documents, photographs and floor plans.
  2. Log in to your DOE Zero Energy Ready Home account, click on Housing Innovation Awards, and upload the completed application and required documentation by June 22nd, 2020 at 5PM ESTNO EXTENSIONS!
  3. Winners will be notified by August 1, 2020.  All winners will be presented awards and grand winners will be announced at the Housing Innovation Awards ceremony at the EEBA High Performance Home Summit, September 29th-October 1st in Denver, Colorado.

View our webinar presentation, 2020 Housing Innovation Awards: Application Process and Successful Strategies. This webinar will walk you through the application and uploading process to ensure you get your applications submitted completely and correctly. Please feel free to contact us at with any questions regarding your application. 

To better understand how your application will be reviewed by our judges, a copy of the 2020 Housing Innovation Awards Scoring Rubric is available. For more information on how HIA winners are selected, read our Housing Innovation Awards Selection Policy

Required Documentation

  • Your completed application form (MS Excel)
    • TIP: It is very important to complete each question in the application. Judges will reduce scores for incomplete information and may deem your application ineligible.
    • Note: New this year, if you are applying in the Affordable category, you MUST complete the Affordable tab on the application spreadsheet. 
  • Your completed DOE ZERH verification form (PDF) AND your DOE ZERH certificate (PDF)
    • TIP: Your third-party verifier (e.g., registered HERS rater) will provide you with both documents printed from a HERS rating software.
  • A minimum of 10 .jpg photographs 0.5 to 10 MB file size) showing:
    • 1 high-resolution front elevation 92400-4800 ppi)
    • Minimum of 3 finished elevation images
    • Minimum of 3 finished interior images
    • Minimum of 3 images of the home under construction with significant energy-efficiency details
      • TIP: Good photographs from each of these categories will increase your chances of winning. The photographs will be used for case studies and the DOE Tour of Zero.
  • Your floor plans (.jpg and PDF) for the submitted home.
    • ​TIP: Please send simple floor plans outlining the main spaces of the house. Blueprints and construction specifications are not accepted. The floor plans will be used in the DOE Tour of Zero and should be easy for a homebuyer to understand.
  • Optional
    • Videos: Videos are not required, but if you have them, please include the YouTube or Vimeo link on the application form.
      • TIP: Videos do not serve as an application. The application must be completed in text for the judges to review. Videos could include testimonials by homeowners, or videos you use to market or show energy-efficiency features of your home. Please include links to videos by others, such as television news or utility programs.
    • Other Program Certifications and Awards: Upload certificates (PDF) from other national, regional, and local certification and award programs.
    • Other Attachments: Upload other attachments you feel may strengthen your application; identify these attachments in your criteria narrative.

Award Categories

AFFORDABLE: A home constructed at an affordable price point that includes income-eligibility requirements for owners and/or occupants.

CUSTOM BUYER: Custom home built for a specific buyer.

CUSTOM SPEC: Custom home build on an individual rather than production basis to be sold on speculation rather than preordered by a buyer.

MULTIFAMILY: Building with more than two units serving multiple homeowners or rental groups.

PRODUCTION: Homes intended to be reproduced using standard approaches and plans. (Minimum 8 certified homes since June 2019.)