Here is the text version of the Zero Energy Ready Home Orientation Webinar, presented in May 2019. Watch the video.
Hello and welcome to the Department of Energy Zero Energy Ready Home orientation webinar. My name is Sam Bowles and I am the communications director for the Zero Energy Ready Home program. This orientation webinar will provide you with an overview of the Zero Energy Ready Home program including what is a Zero Energy Ready Home, the foundations and reasons for which the program specs were developed, as well as the business case, providing better homes for American homebuyers and differentiating yourself from the competition. Presenting today are Sam Raskin, chief architect of the Building Technologies Office and program director for the Zero Energy Ready Home program, as well as Jamie Lyons of Newport Partners, who serves as the program's technical director. After viewing this webinar should you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us. Our contact information will be on the screen at the end of the webinar as well. And without further ado take it away, Sam and Jamie.
Hey, thank-you so much, and welcome to this partner orientation. We're so excited to have you get your introductory training on the federal government's most rigorous guidelines for high-performance homes. So welcome and let's go right to it. And the first thing I want to do is if you're a partner I want to congratulate you. You are in good standing; you're among a very select group of builders, top 1% of the nation, that are able to meet these rigorous guidelines for excellence. Second, you're providing a superior buyer experience; more about that later. And third, you're highly differentiated from the competition, particularly important at this juncture in the housing industry. And last, you're in a position to truly minimize risk in your product and it's a great place to be, as well. So congratulations.
Now, the orientation training purpose for today: It addresses these key points for success we like to give all of our partners as they embark into the program. One, I'm going to talk about how all signs point to zero. In fact, you're making a great choice to join this growing movement in the housing industry. Second, we want to provide the fundamental building blocks to what is zero so you, too, are conversant in the key driving foundational underpinnings to this important program. Third, why zero, and we'll go through what we think are compelling business cases for virtually every player that's involved in zero energy homes. Fourth, we want to talk about how to build zero and in particular the easy lift moving from ENERGY STAR to this leading program Zero Energy Ready Home. And finally and maybe most important, if you are a partner you should be recognized for your excellence. We'll go through the details of how to do that in the final section.
So moving right into it, let's talk about how all signs in fact do point to zero,. And it begins with just our program's certifications. The green bar shows the annual certifications each year, and the blue shows accumulative as we go year by year by year. What you'll see is basically over the past three years, the number of certifications for Zero Energy Ready Home have been doubling, three straight years of doubling, and early indications from certifications in 2019 suggest we should be in position to double again this year. The cumulative number of homes certified are over 3,000, and that will continue to grow Now in addition to the overall numbers, the geographic diversity is outstanding for the program, as we are featured in homes in states all across the country. Without question we do have a focus in a number of western states, but we are growing in markets all across the eastern and middle of the country as well.
So it's not just us that suggests zero is growing. If you look at zero certification across all programs related to zero energy performance as tracked by an organization called the Net Zero Energy Coalition, you see from the latest reports that there's been a hundred percent growth from 2015 to 2017 -- an effect that's growing from about 6,000 over 12,000 homes in various certifications related to zero energy. So again, a very strong indication of substantial growth.
In addition to that, Dodge Data and Analytics does surveys every year looking at builder commitments to all things sustainable and they find that when they survey builders about whether they've built or planned to build a near net zero or a net zero home that the numbers have increased from 21 percent in 2015 to 44 percent in 2019. Again that's over a hundred percent growth in homes that have been built or planned to be built by builders across the entire U.S. Again substantial signal there's a movement underway.
In addition, there's a lot of local leadership that is moving the country to zero. Globally, there are 19 mayors have signed net zero carbon pledges. That basically indicates they plan to have all new buildings net zero by 2030, and all new and existing buildings by 2050, a very aspirational goal. Of those 19 mayors, six cities are located in the U.S.
In addition to that, a number of cities have adopted zero codes. This includes the city of Boulder, Washington, D.C., and Scottsdale, as well. A growing number of cities are planning to do so, as well. And then at the state level we're seeing again a lot of leadership moving to zero energy codes either already in the books or in the planning stages. The one that's most notable is California. Their codes ready to start next year in 2024 their zero energy code. Oregon has an executive order that would stipulate Zero Energy Ready Home as their code for residential buildings in 2023. Additionally, there are zero energy code efforts underway in Puerto Rico, Washington State, and New York State. And so much so with the state interest in zero energy, that the New Building Institute has developed a new metric for tracking these codes as they move towards zero. So there's actually a scale and tracking system that will actually showcase the state's movement to zero over time. So definitely signs pointing to zero.
So what is zero? What is our common understanding we should all have about what it is? And the best way for us to communicate what is zero is to begin by understanding the related risks that come into play as you make buildings more and more energy efficient. And there are three of those. Moisture damage, ensured comfort, ensured indoor air quality. Let's look at each.
So first risk is moisture damage. And the driver for this is, as we go to more-efficient enclosures from less-efficient enclosures, things change in a way that truly affects moisture resistance. And the big factors are that the thermal and air flow in a less-efficient enclosure are much greater than they are in a more-efficient enclosure. A much less thermal flow, much less air flow. That results when you look at the cold side, at a much colder surface, because less heat is getting to that surface than it used to with less insulation and less air flow. And that affects the moisture durability substantially. And that's because we're the colder surface you may have more wetting potential. It's colder and condensation is more likely to happen. At the same time, if it does get wet you have less drying potential than a less-efficient enclosure because less thermal flow is going through it to create a drying process. The outcome is that it means as you build more efficient you have to be almost militant about keeping bulk moisture out of the assembly.
Risk number two: We have the same thermal and air flow reduction going from a less- to more-efficient enclosure. And now we have a risk around comfort. And here's why that happens. With a dramatically improved enclosure, with better insulation and better airtight construction, we now have dramatically reduced demands for the number of Btus of heat or cooling that we have to supply to the home. So you have substantially reduced air flow and at the same time with less heat gain in the summer and heat loss in the winter, you have longer swing seasons. So cooling may start a month later, later and a month sooner, and so the swing season is substantially reduced. This is a significant concern because over 60, 66 percent of the HVAC systems are not installed to industry specifications based on research from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and we suspect from field observations it may be even higher. And so where we have not been paying attention to maybe really, really prudent duct design solutions. Now it's more critical because we have to make sure the airflow gets through the house and get proper mixing when the amount of air flowing is so much less. In addition, we need to make sure the duct locations are optimized because ducts exposed to more severe environments with much less heat and cooling going through them are more compromised. And finally, if the swing seasons are longer and we don't get accidental dehumidification as a byproduct of the air conditioning, that's no longer happening during that front and back end months of the swing season, we need a solution to know that we have ways to manage the relative humidity inside the home. All those things have to be taken care of in a high-performance enclosure.
And finally, your risk number three is insured indoor air quality with a dramatically more airtight construction, in a more-efficient enclosure, it means you have less natural air change changes happening, so you have the potential for more accumulated contaminants. And so we need strategies that actually ensure that we don't trap contaminants in homes that are that much more airtight.
So this leads us to basically our comprehensive strategy for zero. In other words, we begin our foundational concepts for what does Zero Energy Ready Home is by first understanding those risk challenges and then making sure we have a comprehensive strategy. So the first thing you do always in a Zero Energy Ready Home: Step one is optimize energy- efficient performance. And we do that by optimizing the enclosure. Typically what we're doing here is going to the latest most rigorous code requirements on the books. Either one that's forthcoming or the most rigorous that's been adopted in absence of any other forthcoming code. So we want to make sure that our enclosure is optimized to the latest levels that the industry is going. Wouldn't it be foolish to make such a huge investment, the largest purchase of a lifetime, in a product that would be obsolete in only a few years? It's a very, very value- driven decision any consumer would make. Once you have the energy- efficient enclosure the total energy use now results in all the components inside the home now accounting for more than 50 percent, sometimes toward 60 percent, of the total energy use. And that's again because the heating and cooling loads are so much less. All the things inside our home represent a bigger chunk of the total energy requirements that we have.
So the second step of it, optimizing efficient performance, is making sure the components are highly energy efficient. Now you move to step two, do no harm. And here what we do is tackle those three risks we just talked about. We do comprehensive water protection, knowing that we have less drying potential and greater wetting potential. We ensure a comfort system where the ducts are located in an optimized situation so that they can perform better and they are designed and installed to deliver better mixing and air flow. And we have solutions in place so we manage humidity, particularly during those swing seasons where we have no accidental dehumidification from the air-conditioning. And lastly, with comprehensive indoor air quality we have strategies that look at the sources of contaminants and controls them, that dilutes the contaminants with effective whole-house ventilation, and spot ventilation. And finally has high capture filtration to remove particulates in the air stream going through our comfort systems. So all these building blocks are incredibly interrelated and add independently value that would be desired by any homeowner.
The last step is to ensure zero ready capability. And what we want to do in locations we have a good solar resource and architecturally we have conditions that are compatible with adequate south-facing roof that's not shaded, to have solar ready construction. These are simple, no-cost / low-cost details and practices that ensure we can add solar anytime we want in the future with minimal or no disruption or cost penalty. These are the building blocks of the Zero Energy Ready Home, all driven by optimizing efficiency, doing no harm, and being ready for zero in locations that have a good solar resource. And at the end you're under Zero Energy Ready Home label, if you do these six building blocks.
Now if you want to learn more about all these requirements and a lot of the details that go into this, of course, our website has lots of good information but I do want to call your attention to a lot of excellent expert webinar content that we feature 24/7 on our website. So for instance, we have Joe Lstiburek from Building Science Corp. who really does a great webinar on how to get the enclosures right and optimize them. Greg Cobb is a great engineer who specialized in low-load HVAC systems. And down the list you'll see this great content for you on the website at all time. Of course, there's lots of other good content. I encourage everyone to use our website as a valuable source of technical content.
OK, now, moving on to why zero, what's the business case for moving our business to construct Zero Energy Ready Homes. And it starts first and foremost with the customer experience. It just lives better to be in a Zero Energy Ready Home, and it's all based on these foundational experiences that come from the building blocks. One is, start right off with tens of thousands of dollars of utility bill savings over a 30-year mortgage. In fact, many homes that are featured on our website as case studies show that you get over a hundred thousand dollars of savings over a 30-year mortgage. This is a huge, huge economic benefit; in fact, also delivers monthly cash flow where it costs less to own these homes because the savings from the utility bill can often easily exceed the incremental increase in mortgage to pay for the improvements that achieve Zero Energy Ready Home. The second experience is an incredibly cozy indoor environment. The complete thermal blanket and airtight construction around your house just create a coziness at a level you probably have not ever experienced before. Third, you get total comfort. You have a system that begins with those nice warm surface temperatures in the winter and cool surface temperatures in the summer from the thermal blanket, and then you layer on a quality installed high- efficient comfort system that is designed for good mixing, for good humidity control, that's optimized in its location. It's just total comfort again at a level you've probably never experienced before. The next experience is healthy living. The home has all the recommendations from leading experts that should be in new construction based on the EPA Indoor airPLUS program label. That is a prerequisite for each home, so homebuyers can expect to really enjoy having a home that's designed for healthy living. The next experience is peace of mind that comes from knowing you have comprehensive water protection and that moisture issues are substantially removed as a significant risk living in your next new home. And then the quality assurance that comes from knowing your home first of all meets specifications that are the most rigorous requirements for high-performance homes from the federal government and that they are inspected, tested that diagnostics are done, checklists are completed, and the home is certified to meet these requirements.
Finally you have the experience of living in a home that's future-ready. It meets and exceeds future codes and includes all these enhancements that we are confident homebuyers generation after generation are going to expect and demand in their next new homes. Zero lives better.
Then the other reason why is it's incredibly cost-effective. The Rocky Mountain Institute did an independent analysis comparing Zero Energy Ready Home to basic code choices, and they did two blocks of analysis: They did one for Zero Energy Ready and one for zero energy homes and include the solar system. And they did it, if you look in this chart across four cities, Boston, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago. And there are four basic thresholds they looked at: positive cash flow in the mortgage, resale threshold is what would be the value at resale and would you get your money back. Third is a customer or a consumer willingness to pay. And then the first-cost threshold is there any first cost or not. And what you can see for Zero Energy Ready Home, the top block of results for the analysis they did, virtually every case was highly cost -effective except for the first cost threshold. Yes, it does often incur some additional cost for the amazing improvements that go into Zero Energy Ready Home. It does cost a bit more, but on every other basis for looking at the cost-effectiveness, it is highly cost effective. In contrast for zero energy home that includes the solar, far fewer case cases are cost -effective. So it's very, very cost-effective. And if you're buying a home on ownership cost as I mentioned, again you can expect the utility savings to be able to easily exceed the incremental increase of the monthly mortgage because of the higher first cost. So the day you move in it cost less.
Then from the builder business case, it's two key factors. One is the substantial ability to reduce liability. One, you have again that superior customer experience, which should lead to higher customer satisfaction, which should also lead to reduced customer service costs. And then you have this third-party verification, that's looking at these substantial parts of your construction and helping you manage your risks, particularly the ones that we identified related to moisture, comfort and indoor air quality. And on the market differentiation side, you're way ahead of your key competition, existing homes, code homes, and ENERGY STAR homes. You meet the federal government's most rigorous guidelines for high performance. And finally in differentiation, it's not just you saying these homes are great; you'll find if you're like many of our builders that get back to us with feedback about their participation that you have a new sales force, your homebuyers, who say amazing things about living in your homes and also differentiate you because it's them saying it, not just you. And on the societal side, which may or may not be something you think about every day, it is probably really good to know that you're making a huge difference by building homes at this level of excellence. The impacts that we've projected from some internal analysis suggest by 2030 your contributions will lead to over 150 billion dollars of utility bill savings, money that can go back into the economy and create lots of economic benefits over a million years -- a million job years of work being created that cannot be outsourced other countries and over a million metric tons of carbon emissions are being reduced from being released to the atmosphere. So substantial benefits to the country. And maybe what's most exciting is where we're headed, and the journey that you're contributing to by building to this level of Zero Energy Ready Home performance.
First, where you're helping to advance the state of the enclosure, which will continue to get better. More advances in thermal moisture protection, the low-cost R-7, R-10 windows are just around the corner. More and more we like to see builders incorporate natural comfort design where they use natural assets around them to create more comfort inside their homes. And then on the comfort side with mechanical solutions, we're going to see even more choices and smart high-efficient comfort technology with onboard diagnostics that help consumers and homeowners manage their systems and also get ahead of failures that could create crisis modes on the health side. Health measures will continually get better as will the indoor monitoring to help adjust and respond to opportunities to keep making the air quality in our homes superior. And on the resilient side we look to increase more and more requirements to help these homes be able to resist the prevailing disaster events that may happen in that location. And then finally this advanced grid integration, where all these things start working together. The electric vehicle charging, and electric vehicles, batteries, all the ability to bring in smart DC appliances and lighting and have it integrate so you have operation even during supply interruptions. Solar systems will be available that get lower, lowering costs and integrate again with the battery system. Smart grid interactive homes that make the house operate optimally with utility systems. All these things are happening. The path were on is so exciting where homes are going. So I'll hand off now to Jamie.
Thanks so much, Sam. So over the next section we'll spend a few minutes diving a little bit more into the details of how to go about building a home that qualifies for the Zero Energy Ready Home program. And because so many of our builder partners entered the program through the portal of ENERGY STAR homes, they're already building ENERGY STAR, we often frame the discussion of the Zero Ready specifications as what is the list, what's the step up from ENERGY STAR, to DOE Zero Energy Ready Home. And that's what we see here on this slide, which we'll often call our stair step slide. If you look at the far left column, that's a benchmark pegged to a basic 2012 International Energy Conservation Code -- IECC -- to benchmark just based on the basic energy code as of 2012. Moving left to right, we have the ENERGY STAR Homes Program version 3 and then version 3.1, which is in place in more aggressive states in terms of their energy code. And then finally on the far right is where we are with the Zero Energy Ready Home program. So we'll just take a sort of row by row and compare what's different and how the Zero Energy go above and beyond ENERGY STAR homes.
So the first item is that HERS Index, which we like to call a measuring stick for the home's energy efficiency. And as you can see code just gets us into the 70s. And lower is better with HERS. So ENERGY STAR version 3 and the 60s or 70s ENERGY STAR 3.1 gets us down into the 50s and 60s, whereas Zero Energy Ready it's a bit more efficient with the HERS scores generally ranging in the high 40s to the low to mid-50s. Next slide.
So if you're wondering, well, what is the score I would need for a certain home, it depends. It depends on this specific site and our specs has the same -- we call the target home. And it's very similar to what ENERGY STAR homes uses but they call theirs a reference home. What this target home does is, it's a set of specs that your designed home that you're building or modeling it if it's a target home, which is a twin of that design home, which is modeled in the energy rating software in the background, and it looks and feels just like the design home except it dialed in to certain baseline specifications, which are kind of small to see here. But for example if I'm building in a cold climate, I'm using a furnace, you have a 94 AFUE furnace in my target home. I don't have to use that furnace. I can use something more or less efficient. But at the end of the modeling, my overall HERS target for my design home has to be at least as good as or better than the HERS Index that results from the target home specs. That's what this target home is all about.
And when we compare the target home for Zero Ready to the reference home that ENERGY STAR uses in the exact same way to come up with the required HERS score for a given project. We see some differences. First off, I just popped up that the HVAC equipment efficiencies will be higher. They'll be more rigorous for Zero Energy Ready Homes. Also we'll see that the insulation requirements in Zero Energy Ready are pegged to the 2015 energy code, whereas ENERGY STAR version 3 is pegged to the 2009, and ENERGY STAR version 3.1 is pegged to the 2012 energy code. That's for the insulation of the envelope. If we think about air- sealing, Zero Energy Ready sets the bar at about half the air leakage rate as you would find in the ENERGY STAR reference home. It's very important on this point; these are not pass / fail, you must achieve 2.5 or 3.0 ACH 50 for the zero a program. It's just where the target harm is set. Our program provides a little flexibility to be a little higher, a little lower than that, than that target, as long as the overall HERS value for the design home meets or exceeds the target home.
Moving on, if we consider the windows, the Zero Ready specs for the target home or more efficient windows than you find an ENERGY STAR. If we look at the water heating, the efficiency levels of water heating units in zero ready are pegged to the ENERGY STAR product criteria, a bit more efficient than you find an ENERGY STAR. And finally on lighting and appliances, because they're such an important part of the energy budget Zero Ready sets the bar for those as an ENERGY STAR product level for things like lighting, dishwasher, refrigerator, things of that type.
So what it boils down to, then, is we have a site-specific first target, but we can look at some general trends that we've seen. We've done modeling on there so we basically know where that the minimum score would exist. And here we've modeled three different prototype homes by climate zone. And we can see here that in this cold climate zones the HERS value to qualify might be in the high 40s. And then in many climate zones it's in the low to mid-50s range. By comparison we saw earlier 2012 code homes a way up there in the mid-60s, 70s. And ENERGY STAR as we mentioned earlier would be in the 60s, high 50s. What's really sort of very, very important to us as we look at the housing industry overall,each year we track these numbers from RESNET, and we're seeing a very consistent result come back that there's lots and lots of HERS ratings, on an annual basis over 200,000 a year. Last year's 236,000. And even more important the average index from those ratings is in the low 60s. Last year was 61. So when you consider the values that we just looked at for how efficient the homes need to be to meet the minimum requirements for efficiency in the Zero Energy Ready program, and then you compare that to the number of homes, and this average index we estimate that there's tens of thousands of homes, perhaps around 85,000, which they're already there in terms of the energy efficiency they need for the Zero Energy Ready Home program. They've already checked that box.
So that's the HERS index. The next item that we'll consider is the building envelope. And this is called out especially because this is very much part and parcel of the home. It's built into the home, really for the duration of the lifecycle of that house. So we want to start with a really solid building envelope. For that reason Zero Energy Ready Home requires the envelope to be at least as robust as the insulation levels that you'd find in the 2015 energy code. And as we mentioned a minute ago, by comparison ENERGY STAR versions 3 and 3.1 reference the '09 and the 2012 codes respectively. As far as what do those R-values or U-values actually look like. We've laid that out here and there's a lot of numbers here. I'll point out just a few. If we look at the far right column, with framed wall R-values, you can see in mixed climates this is an R-20 or in R-13 plus five wall, 13 plus five in the cavity insulation plus R5 for continuous energy getting some very colder climates. Six and above ratchets up to an R-20 plus five one hour 13 plus 10. If we shift one column to the left, the ceiling R-values, some of the mild and mixed climates is R-38. Then as we get the colder zones, it's R-49. I think the takeaway here for most of our builders is these are good practice assemblies. They don't require any special materials or new assemblies or new methods necessarily. These are definitely attainable and cost- effective insulation levels for the envelope. That's the main takeaway we hear from our builder partners.
So the next three items we're going to breeze past pretty quickly, check check check. And the reason we're doing that is because each and every Zero Energy Ready Home by prerequisite also has attained the ENERGY STAR homes certification. So if you look at those three columns we just checked off, those different building blocks are all embedded into the ENERGY STAR homes program. So as a home moves up from ENERGY STAR and that builder wants to differentiate even further and showcase their homes and include better performance and efficiency, they've already done those three items. I'll speak quickly just to each one to give a short, short overview. Independent verification is really critical because it's that extra set of eyes looking over things, making sure that all the complete systems that are so important for the efficiency and the performance, they're getting done. And key items aren't getting missed in the busyness of a construction project. The second item is water management. This is a basic checklist of good practices, things like step flashing at wall / roof intersections, things of that nature, which are actually integrated in the code. But we want to make sure they're all getting done and getting done correctly, especially because we have such a well-insulated, well-air-sealed home. We want to make sure we're including complete water management. And that third item is quality installation, Qi, HVAC installation and design and including whole house ventilation. The quality installation of the HVAC. It includes a few basic parameters just on the design side to make sure that the load sizing cap is reasonably accurate. And we're not using a an incorrect input that results in miscalculating the load by 40 percent or something like that. So again it's a handful of good measures to ensure quality design and installation, of not just the HVAC system but also the whole house ventilation.
So next we start to differentiate where Zero Energy Ready does go above and beyond ENERGY STAR homes. And the first box we'll look at is optimize duct location. We see a lot of high-efficiency homes in the marketplace that they do a good job on the envelope, you have good air- sealing, they have good mechanical system efficiencies. But what can really become a glaring weak link in the home's performance is the duct system. If we have it otherwise really high-performance home but ducts are left up in a sweltering attic with the minimal R-value on the ductwork. That's sort of a built-in penalty for that house. It's going to be a severe energy hit really for the life cycle of that home, while those ducts are located in such a severe environment. So for that reason the Zero Ready program calls out this building system and requires that the ducts be located either completely in conditioned space, which is what we see here over those six solutions shown on the left side of the slide, or that the ducts be located in a "optimized location," whether more or less embedded within the thermal envelope. And that's what we see over on that box on the right side. Where there are prescriptive approaches allowed in the Zero Ready specs, the ducts can be located in a vented attic as long as they're buried -- in some cases air-sealed spray foam. And there's a few different prescriptive pathways reference for how to get to that point. But the takeaway is there's a lot of solutions available that meet the different building styles and building construction methods used by our builders.
The next item we'll take a look at is extremely important. It's getting that full IAQ package for the home. And the good news is that we don't have to reinvent the wheel, nor do our builder partners. We have a great off-the-shelf option for comprehensive IAQ in the form of the Indoor airPLUS program from EPA. The Indoor airPLUS or IAP program for short is based on getting a few key building blocks. As a starting point, with ENERGY STAR homes, see there on the left, for example ENERGY STAR requires whole house ventilation. And then they round it out to be a complete system, which addresses all the things that really make sense to look at for indoor air quality in homes. And that's what we see there on the right side in the form of radon measures, pests, materials, and some extra measures in terms of combustion safety, HVAC, and moisture. so just a quick example of what you can expect to unpack in the IAP program. That first building block is the radon mitigation. If a house is located in radon zone law, meaning there's a higher likelihood of higher radon levels in that location -- and we're also building such tight homes by virtue of code -- it makes a lot of sense to at least use radon resistant construction methods. So that's the kind of thing that IAP includes in its specifications and we roll into the DOE program. You'll also find a lot of code minimum requirements in the Indoor airPLUS program. Again, they're put into a checklist that's verified to make sure they're getting done. So the builders in our program have a whole lot of confidence that their homes have a complete indoor air quality package included when they follow these provisions.
Moving right up the ladder, we'll take a quick look at efficient components and hot water distribution. As we heard earlier, these loads and homes are becoming a much more important part of the puzzle. So as we look at the pie chart on the left, that's the homes not even all that far back into the past, maybe built five, 10 years ago or more. The loads are really dominated by that big green slice of pie, the heating / cooling. That's where we spent the bulk of our energy. And the remaining pieces, the lighting, hot water -- what we call MELs, miscellaneous electrical loads -- they were there but they were not nearly prominent in our energy budget. If we fast-forward to today's homes, the envelopes gotten much better, not just based on code. Better insulation, better air-sealing. So the heating / cooling slice is much smaller now, often 30, 25 percent of the overall energy use. And what's happened is those other end uses to lighting the miscellaneous loads in the hot water are now a much bigger proportion of a smaller pie. So from our standpoint it makes a lot of sense to do some basic measures like require ENERGY STAR appliances for things like the dishwasher, the fridge, the lighting, the ventilation fans. And our spec also calls for either using efficient hot water distribution to save on water heating energy or implementing efficient, very efficient, water heaters. So collectively we have the set of provisions that really tighten down on the energy use for all these electrical loads that have become a much bigger slice of the pie.
And then the last building block: If we think about it, we started with the efficiency, we've really boosted the performance of the homes, are going to work well and live well. The final piece is to think about solar readiness, looking forward. What would make sense to do to make these homes PV ready in the future. So we see that on the next slide we have a collection of about a half-dozen no-cost / low-cost measures, which make it less costly, less disruptive in the future if PV were to be added to the home. The first item is simply providing the load rating documentation on the roof structure and handing that to the homeowners. They have it at some point in the future if they need it and they don't have to go outside and hire structural analysis to get those numbers. Next, the checklist calls for running conduit from the attic area down the service panel. That's cap unlabeled that provides that pathway to route wiring should that be needed when a PV system is installed. Next we call for some space to be dedicated near the service panel where we can install an inverter. We run a short piece of conduit from that area over to the electric panel. And then the panel includes a breaker or space for a breaker to tie in a future PV system if that's in the cards. And I'll pause just to say quickly that there are some common-sense exceptions to when these provisions aren't needed. If a home is in part of the country with much lower solar resources or if a home simply doesn't have much south-facing roof area, or if the house is prone to significant shading from nearby structures or trees or things like that. There's some commonsense exceptions to these provisions in the case of exceptions are used the house is still able to be certified under the Zero Energy Ready Home program. With that, Sam, I hand it back to you to cover the recognition with zero.
Hey, thanks, Jamie, and yes, that's a great package of value-based improvements. Now the job is for you to be recognized for stepping up and showing leadership and building homes again the most rigorous level by the federal government for high performance. So let's discuss how we can do that. And the opportunities that we're going to work through are, first, start with the logo, the Zero Energy Ready Home logo from the U.S. Department of Energy. And then let's look at a whole suite of customizable resources. We recognize that when builders are communicating to their prospective homebuyers, the story should be as much about them as it is about our program. So we feel our major resources should be able to be customized by the builder, and there are a whole list of these, our dare-to-compare brochures, back sheets, experience fact sheets, homeowner manual, drop-in messaging and testimonials we'll talk about. And then the awards are a great way to again be differentiated and distinguished for doing excellence. The Tour of Zero is a way for homebuyers to observe and to learn about the superior experience living in these homes. And for you to be featured on that tour, a virtual tour if you will. And finally, the partner locator is a way for people to find you from our website, an independent source listing the builders, go in the top 1% of the country, building again to the federal government's most rigorous guidelines for high performance. So let's walk you through these recognition opportunities. And they're there for the taking. Every partner should build a strategy around how to use these at no cost to them, enhance their their distinction to their buyers.
So first thing that's most simple is to use the logo. It's there, it's given to you. Here's one builder who basically leverages the three key logos that come with Zero Energy Ready Home certification. You get the Zero Energy Ready Home certification, along with airPLUS as Jamie mentioned. And also as Jamie mentioned, ENERGY STAR. Now in this case the builder also had a Green Label certification. But this is a fairly impressive plaque, walking into this builder's model home. That is not to be underestimated. When people in a marketplace see certified choices versus uncertified choices, the willingness to pay and their trust goes up tremendously. Just the price for a certified pre-owned car versus a typical used car is often $1,800 or a few thousand dollars more, just for the certification. So this is a free lever for you to show that your homes are certified, certified to a lot of distinguished programs. Take advantage of it. Now it doesn't have to wait till a product is finished and ready in the market. As soon as you start construction. Here's an example where the builder does a great job showcasing his partnership with the Zero Energy Ready Home program and his company. And right during construction, during the whole process, people driving by can see that connection. So the logos there it's for free. It's easy recognition just for the taking.
The next set of recognitions I speak to all leverage a comparison bar tool that we developed to showcase the contrast between the main competitive forces with Zero Energy Ready Home. And as Jamie mentioned, a lot of the gateway for coming into our program is through ENERGY STAR certified home. So it's really important to understand the difference, what the contrast is, and the benefits are, from going from ENERGY STAR to Zero Ready. Then in a marketplace about seven out of eight, to nine of 10 homes sold, depending on which market you are in, will be existing homes. So again, it's really important to contrast how much better experience you get with the Zero Energy Ready Home to the existing home, which is the predominant choice for buying a home by most homebuyers. And again, create a true understanding of the value of moving into a new certified Zero Energy Ready Home. So these comparison bars are critical to that and explain how they work in a moment. But again, green is Zero Energy Ready Home, blue is ENERGY STAR certified home, and the gray is the existing home. And they'll be used on a number of tools.
I'll explain the tool on this first option for you, for where the comparison bars are featured, which is a Zero Energy Ready Home dare- to-compare brochure. So essentially, those six comparison bars are featured on the brochure as the core message. If I had a homebuyer come in and I did a good job as a salesperson, asking questions, listening, understanding the most vital concerns of that buyer, and I came to learn that their kids were always sick in the current home and they were really looking to find a healthier new home. I'd take out a big thick marker and I circle "Healthful Environment," give the brochure to the buyer, and explain via these very powerful comparison bars the contrast: "Mrs. Smith, so sorry to hear that your kids suffer from allergies and asthma and have to use inhalers and struggle every day. What really should be important to you is that every one of our homes is certified to the EPA Indoor airPLUS program, meaning we have a hundred percent of recommendations by leading experts for how to improve the health of families every day. In contrast you get half those recommendations with an ENERGY STAR certified home, and if you're looking at existing homes, you often get hardly any of those recommendations. Would you not agree that every day when you care that your kids can breathe as best they can that you have a home with all these expert recommendations?" And what the comparison bars do is make the hidden health benefits completely comprehendible and understandable in every way by the buyer. That's how powerful they are, and they work the same way whether you're trying to explain that you have advanced technology or ultra efficient performance, or the optimized comfort or enhanced quality or improved durability. Whatever the issue a buyer may have that would align with these six attributes, you can explain you have the all the expert recommendations compared to only this with ENERGY STAR or this with existing home.
And you also should note that on the panels on the right, there is a builder's logo, the real estate for the builder to customize the brochure so it's about him or her, as much as it's about Zero Ready -- about him or her and their leadership providing all these solutions to their buyers.
The other tool that uses this is a simple fact sheet that you can hand showing all the comparison boards. And basically the message is about the contrast in this particular factory home to the power of zero. And again, you can circle "Health" and use this tool much like you would use the brochure. In a case where you identified a compelling need for the health benefits, you're able to offer the expert recommendations included in your home. Again, it can revolve around any of the other attributes as well -- comfort, technology, efficient performance, quality and durability. Again notice at the bottom, the real estate for the partner to put the logo and contact information, because this has to be as much about our partners as it is about the Zero Energy Ready Home program.
The new piece that's coming out, it's on all of this in a way that's very compelling, because it also includes testimonials about that attribute. So this is a new tool that will be available shortly. We call these superior experience fact sheets. And essentially the way it works, at the top you have the basic concept that you may identify as a compelling need of your buyer. In this case, health, the new imperative, healthy homes. "The average person spends over 60% of their time inside their home each day. That's why every Zero Energy Ready Home meets the federal government's most rigorous guidelines for indoor air quality. This means you look forward to a wide array of health benefits such as less allergies, odors, mold, reliance on inhalers and doctor visits. You deserve to breathe better." So a simple explanation, then you go down and see the comparison bars. You give up half with ENERGY STAR basic specifications and almost all if you buy an existing home. You have the images; you have the details about the three-prong strategy -- source control, fresh air and high capture filtration -- that explain exactly why it's better for health. And on the left from our repository of amazing testimonials from homebuyers that we get through a feature I'll describe later, the Housing Innovation Awards, you have wonderful quotes that speak to the experience that actually happens with homeowners. "We have always suffered from allergies. I can come back home and my odorless, fresh space speaks for itself. No mold, no breathing problems, no fumes, and no itchy eyes. We were definitely happy." So you as a partner are able to leverage all the experience with the Zero Energy Ready Homes and help that enhance your message, as well. I'll also call attention to the very bottom, again, the real estate for the builder partner to put his or her logo right there, brought to you by the partner. So it's as much about you, customized for you, as it is about Zero Energy Ready Home. What's really important is this is the Zero Energy Ready Home fact sheet and the quotes come from Zero Energy Ready Home homeowners, so all this is a very effective way of leveraging the assets that we developed for our program.
So in addition to the health fact sheet, you have taken comfort to a whole new level for comfort-concerned homebuyers. Leveraging advanced technology for technology-concerned homebuyers. Taking control of your utility bills for energy-efficient-minded homebuyers. Quality construction starts here for quality-minded homebuyers. Homes that will stand the test of time for homebuyers who care about maintenance and durability. And each of these fact sheets works the exact same way, a very compelling, short description, you have the explanation of the components that deliver that benefit or attribute, and the quotes that are aligned with health, comfort, durability, quality right next to them, and that space at the bottom for the partner's name and logo. So there's the new resource that will be available shortly.
Again, all building on the comparison bars as a foundational way to create contrast between your homes and the competition. And these quotes are so compelling that a resource under development is one where you will be able to go into our repository and you can pull out quotes and use them in your own marketing messaging. And quotes about health, comfort, technology, energy-efficient performance, quality and durability. Similarly, also we find our partners really benefit from the Department of Energy and our program saying they're doing great things. So we've created a whole series of drop-in messaging that partners can access and put in their name and have effective quotes speaking to the excellence that they're providing. And it's from a trusted organization backing up their leadership. So by example, here's a website from Thrive Home Builders. And if I highlight the quote at the bottom, "Zero Energy Ready Homes are the future of U.S. housing, and innovators like Thrive Home Builders are leading the way for the entire industry. Zero Energy Ready Homes can provide a vastly superior homeowner experience at a lower homeownership cost, an experience all Americans should want in their next new home." And again, all you have to do is take the quote, drop in your name where it's highlighted, and you have a message from the Department of Energy, or in this case the chief architect, to put in your messaging.
And finally, to create your homeowner as your a new sales force, the ambassador for your company, we've developed a Zero Energy Ready Home homeowner manual. And it does serve the purpose of being a homeowner manual, but we look at it as much or even more significantly as a training tool for your homebuyers. So there's this front page or a Zero Energy Ready Home story for the buyer. And again, it's customized for the builder on the real estate at the bottom with the contact information and our logo, as well. If you don't want to use our generic image, you can drop in your own home and even a specific home for that homebuyer. So it's truly customized for that buyer. Then the first page of the brochure highlights those seven key experiences that will truly be superior for your buyers. And then it educates your buyers about each one of those experiences, in this case, the thermal blanket protection from a high-performance thermal enclosure. And it educates them about three compelling features that deliver amazing value, the high- performance windows, a high-performance insulation, and the comprehensive draft protection. And then at the bottom, the tip so they can operate their home and get the best results. In this case for the enclosure, the tip is anytime work is being done in your home that involves wall penetrations or workers in your attic, make sure the contractor is required to maintain the insulation levels, and your type construction, make sure they keep up all the good work you provided after they finish their work. And it's the same for all the other benefits. You're educating them and giving them tips. And it's fully customized for our partners, so it's about you as much as a better program.
I mentioned the Housing Innovation Awards, and it's a great opportunity for being recognized and truly distinguished with a national award. We provide these awards, but in the process of applying for the awards, builders are giving us the content we need to create amazing empirical evidence of a superior homeowner experience. And we take that content and put it into profiles that are called a Tour of Zero. And so on the left you have a map. I can go to a location on this map. I go Delaware. I can go, I can get lists of builders in that entire region that do Zero Energy Ready Homes. I could highlight one home, in this case from Insight Homes, the Whatley that was distinguished for the Housing Innovation Award. And the Tour of Zero is basically like many real estate websites, a virtual tour of the home. I'll call your attention to first is that we highlight the consumer experience front and center. "No more trips to the hospital!!!" Amazing, compelling experience to put right up front. And then you have the pictures. You can see the home on the outside; you can see the home on the inside. And then you scroll down, you get tremendously interesting statistics about the home without having to do a lot of reading -- square footage, HERS Index score. But I will highlight your attention to the bottom row, which is a 30-year savings for this home, which is $158,600, so substantial in this case because it includes a good-sized solar system along with the high-performance enclosure. That's a pretty compelling story that that home delivers those savings as documented in the independent HERS rating analysis done for that home.
Scroll that and then click on the builder's name at the top. Then I get basically to their page in the locator tool I'll talk about in a moment, that showcases them, their recognition, who they are and how to reach them. If I scroll down a little further, I have a list of all the innovations that are in the home. I have the full quote that was used partially as the headline below the images of the home when you first come to the profile for this particular house. Often there are videos. The videos often will feature the consumer testimonial. And I click on the floorplan, I get an enlarged floorplan, as well. So the Tour of Zero is a way for you to be featured. A lot of our builders will have direct links to their homes in the Tour for their customers to go take the virtual tour and see from the independent voice of authority, the U.S. Department of Energy, how they're being recognized for their excellence. So the Tour of Zero is a great way to be recognized. To be there, you have to apply for the Housing Innovation Award. And then it's seamless; the content you provide for the award creates the content for the Tour of Zero.
And then the locator tool is a way all partners are located. Regardless of awards or anything, as long as you're a partner and active, you're recognized. Again, you can go to any location. In this case, I click on Arizona. I'll see the list of builders, the builders that commit to being 100% committed, and all their homes Zero Energy Ready Home are featured first in yellow. So those are the hundred percent partners, then the partners are listed down based on accomplishments in terms of number of homes that they've certified in your company. So I highlight Mandalay. I get a direct link to the locator page that features the information about them. So it has the contact information, links to their website, the awards they've won, the number of certified homes. And it's not just for the builders; you also as a partner can find raters on this website, and architects and designers are all partners who are accessible on the locator tool. But we often hear from a number of builders that a homebuyer came to them after first seeing them on the Zero Energy Ready Home website and this locator tool.
So to sum up the strategy and everything that's going on here, this whole suite of resource tools was developed with a list of goals in mind that we thought were critical to be of most value to our partners. First, we want you to be able to leverage the trust, the trust of being associated with a DOE voice of authority, in many cases the messaging. And we spoke about the drop-in messaging you can use and put right into your materials. Secondly, we want to leverage differentiation with the logo, the awards, the locator tool, the Tour of Zero, are all about highly differentiating the partners in our program. Third, we want to leverage clarity, and clarity depends on contrast. So we developed a whole suite of contrast-based fact sheets. Fourth, we want to leverage the fact that we know the homeowners who purchase Zero Energy Ready Homes are positioned for the superior experiences. So let's access them through the Housing Innovation Awards, to build up a repository of the amazing testimonial quotes and make those accessible to our partners. And finally, let's leverage partner recognition by making sure our resources are customizable and they're about them as much as they're about the Zero Energy Ready Home program. So everything you've seen was all developed with these strategic goals in mind and they're there for the taking again. If you want good guidance on how to use them and how they work, we have a number of webinars, again, featured 24/7 on our website that tell you how to use the resources, how to apply a lot of the sales principles with your in-house or external sales professionals. About other resources we have like the Building America Solution Center. And I would also highlight the Voice of the Builder series, where you can get to hear webinars from builders, by climate zone, about their experiences with Zero Energy Ready Home and often their experiences leveraging the recognition. So all these resources are there to help you be more effective partners with the program.
And finally I want to talk about your responsibilities as a partner, are to take this training; congratulations, you've done the first step. Second, to provide the certificate for Zero Energy Ready Home to each of your homeowners, to adhere to the brand identity guidelines, which basically want to just enforce that the logo should only be used on homes that are in fact certified to the program and only should be used in marketing materials where there's truly an intent to build homes compliant with the program. And you need to build or verify at least one home every 18 months to maintain an active partnership. You'll be pulled from our locator tool if you exceed the 18-month window, but you'll be put right back on as soon as you go come back and certify a home after that time if you do lapse.
One last thing we'll talk about and then I'll let Sam wrap up, is there is some maintenance you have to do as a partner. We do ask you to make sure you keep your company information updated, in particular, add, delete, at the contacts, because our main way of communicating is through the contact people and their email addresses you provide. And if people change and we don't have the right address, we can't keep you updated on many important changes that happen in the program. We do add you to update your logo. So again, when you go to the partner resources and want to customize it, the up-to-date logo will populate the tools that you choose to use. Do add in any commitments that you're doing beyond the basic program, so you can be featured on the locator tool. Things like 100% commitment I mentioned is very significant because it puts you in the very first block of builders that are doing 100% of your homes to the program. There are other extra commitments you can do, to do resilience through the Fortified Home program and to do water- efficient features through EPA's WaterSense program. Access the tools and resources because that's how you get the benefit of being a member of the program.
And finally you'll be notified every year how many homes have been certified, by us by email. And we want you, and ask you, to please verify we have our number correct. What's wonderful about our program is there's no burden to your raters to do any reporting to us because all your certified homes are accessible to us, via the RESNET registry. All HERS ratings go into the registry. We have the ability to toggle and pull out all Zero Energy Ready Home certifications so we know which homes are certified. But we do want to make sure your homes are being duly recognized and duly reported to the registry, so when we send you our reports each year listing the number of homes that we have for you for certification, do please make the effort to make a check and make sure you're getting credit for all the homes that you have in fact constructed. And that's it. So I'm going to hand off to Sam.
OK, great, thanks, Sam and Jamie, for that overview of the program. Lots of really good information there. As I said at the beginning there, we welcome you to contact us if you have any questions. Our website is here at www.buildings.energy.gov/zero, and you can always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll leave this up for a little bit here so you can write it down. But thanks for joining us, and we will hopefully hear from you guys soon. Thanks. Bye.