The DOE Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) is a compelling way to recognize builders for their leadership in increasing energy efficiency, improving indoor air quality, and making homes zero energy ready. The program builds upon the comprehensive building science requirements of ENERGY STAR® for Homes, along with proven Building America innovations and best practices. Other special attribute programs are incorporated to help builders reach unparalleled levels of performance with homes designed to last hundreds of years.

DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes are verified by a qualified third-party and are at least 40%-50% more energy efficient than a typical new home. This generally corresponds to a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index Score in the low- to mid-50s, depending on the size of the home and region in which it is built.

Partner Requirements

The first step to becoming a Zero Energy Ready Home partner is to register. The Zero Energy Ready Home program offers partnerships for builders, verifiers (raters), architects and designers, and innovation partners (manufacturers and organizations). Upon registration, all partners are required to take the Zero Energy Ready Home Orientation Webinar.

Once you have registered as a partner, and completed the Zero Energy Ready Home Orientation Webinar, you will be listed on the Partner Locator tool. For more information on registration and the partnership visit our Partner Central page.

Program Requirements

The DOE Zero Energy Ready Home Program Version 2 Draft Program Requirements were made available for stakeholder feedback are are now available to view. To determine the applicable version of DOE Zero Energy Ready Home requirements to use based on a project's location and permit date see Program Versions and Applicability

DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes must meet all DOE Zero Energy Ready Home National Program Requirements (Version 1, Rev. 07) for homes permitted on or after June 1, 2019. Note that the V1-Rev. 07 program requirements may also be used for projects permitted before June 1, 2019. For a summary of the differences between V1-Rev. 07 and V1-Rev. 06 of the national program requirements, view the V1-Rev. 07 Highlights document.

Homes permitted prior to June 1, 2019, but on/after July 20, 2017, have the option of using the V1-Rev. 06 specifications. For projects permitted earlier, partners should adhere to the effective dates included on the revisions of the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home requirements. 

For climates with significant solar insolation, homes must complete the provisions outlined in the PV-Ready checklist

Waivers and Checklists

 

 

 

 

DOE Zero Energy Ready Home Builders are encouraged to:

100% Commitment

Commit to constructing 100% of your homes to the U.S. DOE's Zero Energy Ready Home requirements.

PHIUS+

Take the next step on the continuous path to Zero Energy Ready Home by meeting the additional requirements of the Passive House Institute US.

WaterSense

Minimize water use by participating in the EPA WaterSense for New Single-Family Homes program.

Fortified for Safer Living

Embrace disaster resistance by following the Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) FORTIFIED for Safer Living or FORTIFIED Home provisions for regionally specific natural hazards.

Quality Management Program

Implement comprehensive quality management practices.

Solar Hot Water Accomplish additional savings by using the solar hot water-ready checklist and EPA's solar thermal systems guide. These requirements are no longer mandatory but encouraged.
 

Ask buyers to sign a waiver allowing DOE Zero Energy Ready Home access to one year of utility bill data.

 

Certifying Zero Energy Ready Homes

Builders can follow two different paths in qualifying a home for the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home initiative.

Prescriptive Path

To use the prescriptive path, follow the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home National Program Requirements. A registered verifier should submit the prescriptive compliance report after verification that the home satisfies the ZERH Prescriptive requirements. 

Projects that are using Packaged Terminal Heat Pump (PTHP) units in a project and pursue the Prescriptive Path for ZERH compliance must meet the DOE ZERH - PTHP Prescriptive Efficiency Levels.

Projects that are utilizing the "Waiver for ENERGY STAR and Indoor airPLUS Certification when using Prescriptive Compliance where ZERH is Required by Code” must also have the “DOE Zero Energy Ready Home - Homeowner Checklist” completed by the builder and provided to the homeowner.

Performance Path

Registered verifiers use energy modeling software to design homes that meet the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home performance requirements. The software will create a DOE certificate specific to the certified home.

IMPORTANT: All homes certified through the Performance Path shall be submitted to DOE by submitting the home to the RESNET National Registry or by submitting the DOE ZERH compliance verification report to zero@newportpartnersllc.com.

State-Specific Requirements

State energy codes that exceed this program's requirements always take precedence.  

In the following cases, there are distinct state-specific requirements for the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home program:

California Requirements

The DOE ZERH – California Rev. 07 requirements are in effect for buildings with a permit date and a plan approval date on or after October 1, 2018. The plan approval date is the date that a jurisdiction approves a home plan and its efficiency features for use on a specific lot or tract. The permit date may be defined as either the date that the permit was issued or the date of the contract on the home.

Savings and Cost Estimate Summary

The DOE Zero Energy Ready Home Savings & Cost Estimate Summary- Version 1 gives builders, contractors, utilities, energy programs, and other stakeholders a general sense of the magnitude and type of added costs for constructing DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes and how these costs compare to the energy savings. Actual energy savings and incremental costs will vary.