The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) builder partners navigate a wide range of construction, marketing, and sales constraints to meet the federal government’s most rigorous guidelines for high-performance homes.  The DOE ZERH staff are aware that the national program requirement to utilize a QA-certified HVAC contractor can be a significant challenge in some cases due to local market factors. 

ZERH Partners should be aware of exemptions to the QA-Certified HVAC Contractor requirement for certain types of HVAC systems. Additionally, the DOE ZERH program has a process to consider limited waivers for low-volume builders (e.g., less than 15 DOE ZERH homes per year) or builders with limited market availability of QA-certified HVAC contractors (e.g., none or only one certified contractor within a 25-mile radius of a project). We invite any partners facing such issues that are able to document their challenge to contact our program staff at to explore a waiver. In such cases that a waiver is granted, the home is permitted to be DOE ZERH certified without a credentialed contractor, but cannot be ENERGY STAR Homes or Indoor airPLUS certified.