DOE explains how green home certifications stack up

DOE explains how green home certifications stack up

As the interest in home certifications grows, builders and consumers wonder how they all fit together.

How does Passive House stack up against Energy Star or the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home program?


In a recent DOE Zero Energy Ready Home Program Update, Sam Rashkin, chief architect, Building Technologies Office answered those questions for builders and homeowners.

"I just got a media request asking how the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home program integrates with Passive House. However, when I thought about it, I realized that the more important question was how ALL of the voluntary, high-performance federal government home programs integrate with Passive House. The surprising answer to that question is that we have an incredibly thoughtful set of programs for the housing industry.  Yes, in fact good government.

This began with a strong DOE commitment to align Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) with ENERGY STAR Certified Homes. Then, Zero Energy Ready Home coordinated with Passive House to form a continuum of high-performance label options for home builders.

The staircase diagram below shows the resulting relationships. A good basic home begins with a code home complying with 2009 or more recent version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). Then, the ENERGY STAR Certified Home label at the first step of the staircase assures above code performance with comprehensive building science.

The next step is the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home program which makes ENERGY STAR Certified Home and EPA Indoor airPLUS a prerequisite to lock in critical building science and indoor air quality and adds best practices from the DOE Building America program.

 This label ensures high-performance homes so energy efficient they can offset most or all annual energy consumption with renewable energy. Lastly, Passive House with PHIUS Certification makes DOE Zero Energy Ready Home a prerequisite and then squeezes the last drop of additional efficiency for greater resilience and minimum energy consumption. Thus, the housing industry has a clear path for progressively more efficient homes that also ensures high-performance. Now let’s all work together moving builders along this path."

Graphic via U.S. Department of Energy.

Read more about green building certifications.

Topics: Building Green, Certification / LEED, Energy Star, Going Green

Companies: U.S. Department of Energy

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