Since 2013, the U.S. Department of Energy Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) Program has been important in encouraging greater energy efficiency, home comfort, and durability in new-home construction.
Now the program is aiming higher, with the announcement in late 2022 of ZERH Single Family Version 2. Homes built using the standard's new version will be ready to plug and play, with photovoltaic systems and high-efficiency electric technologies, and beefed up insulation in the building envelope that surpasses the previous ZERH standard.
Residential housing contributes nearly 21% of energy use in the United States. Certified Zero Energy Ready Homes not only reduce energy consumption, these homes are safer, healthier, more comfortable, and more affordable. High-quality construction and validated performance also translate to lower maintenance and fewer repairs; for some homeowners, energy bills are negligible. Affordable homes, many constructed for low-income and disadvantaged communities, make up approximately 30% of the homes certified to the ZERH standard.