The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is committed to advancing high-performance, high-quality homes through its DOE Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) certification program. DOE ZERH has accelerated the adoption of cost-effective building technologies since 2013 by recognizing and establishing guidelines for highly energy-efficient residential buildings and the builders who construct them.

Multifamily buildings up to five stories in height have previously been eligible for certification under Version 1 of the ZERH program. Under the recently released Version 1, Revision 9, both low-rise and high-rise multifamily buildings became eligible for ZERH certification. Today we are releasing ZERH Multifamily Version 2, which maintains this expanded eligibility. ZERH Multifamily Version 2 also increases energy efficiency and performance levels, adds electric readiness, and makes the compliance pathways and the certification process more consistent with the ENERGY STAR Multifamily New Construction (ESMFNC) program.

The ZERH program released draft program documents for a public comment period (which concluded in May 2023) and incorporated updates and clarifications to the program documents based on many of these responses. DOE thanks all stakeholders who submitted feedback during the public comment period.

ZERH Multifamily Version 2 will be required for projects with permit dates on or after January 1, 2025. (Projects with permit dates from January 1, 2024, to December 31, 2024, must certify under ZERH Multifamily Version 2 or ZERH Version 1, Revision 9.) The ZERH Multifamily V2 program defines a project’s permit date as either the permit issue date, the date of the Rater’s first site visit, or the permit application date. The implementation dates for all ZERH program versions are posted on the DOE ZERH Program Requirements webpage.

Key updates included in the ZERH Multifamily Version 2 Program Requirements:

  • Requires certification under ENERGY STAR Multifamily New Construction Version 1.2.
  • Requires certification under Indoor airPLUS V1 (for permit dates on or before 12/31/2025) and Indoor airPLUS V2 Certified or Gold tier (for permit dates on/after 1/1/2026)
  • Increases the stringency of envelope insulation and window requirements.
  • Includes PV-Ready and EV-Ready Checklists tailored for multifamily buildings.
  • Incorporates electric-ready provisions to accommodate future heat pump installations for space and water heating.
  • Provides three pathways for certification: Energy Rating Index (ERI), ASHRAE 90.1, and Prescriptive.
  • Increases the minimum required efficiency threshold, bringing ERI scores to qualify for ZERH to the mid-40s. The ASHRAE and Prescriptive pathways are designed to achieve a similar level of energy efficiency.

DOE has released the following program documents on the ZERH Multifamily Version 2 Webpage:

  • DOE Zero Energy Ready Home Multifamily National Program Requirements Version 2
  • DOE Zero Energy Ready Home Multifamily National Rater Checklist Version 2
  • DOE Zero Energy Ready Home Multifamily PV-Ready Checklist Version 2
  • DOE Zero Energy Ready Home Multifamily EV-Ready Checklist Version 2
  • DOE Zero Energy Ready Home Multifamily ERI Target Procedure Version 2
  • Summary of Major Changes from ZERH Version 1 to ZERH Multifamily Version 2

Partners are encouraged to reach out to program staff at ZERH@doe.gov with questions regarding implementation of this program version.

 

 

.............................................................

See this newsletter in its original format here.