The ZERH program is designed to promote energy-efficient, high-performance homes that significantly reduce energy consumption and utility bills. To build a home that can ultimately get ZERH certified, follow these steps:
Familiarize yourself with the program requirements: Review the program requirements and guidelines on the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home website. Familiarize yourself with the required energy efficiency specifications and performance targets.
Choose a builder: Select a builder experienced in constructing energy-efficient homes and who is familiar with the ZERH program. Discuss your intent to build a ZERH-certified home with the builder and ensure they understand the program requirements.
Incorporate energy efficient designs and technologies: Work with your builder and design team to incorporate energy-efficient features, such as high-performance insulation, windows, and doors, as well as energy-efficient appliances, heating and cooling systems, and solar-ready design elements.
Engage a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Rater: A HERS Rater is a certified professional who will evaluate your home’s energy efficiency and ensure it meets the ZERH program requirements. Engage a HERS Rater early in the design process to provide guidance and ensure your home is on track to meet certification requirements.
Construct the home: Work with your builder to construct the home, making sure to follow the energy-efficient designs and technologies that you have planned. Ensure your builder uses proper construction techniques and quality materials to meet the high-performance standards required by the ZERH program.
Conduct inspections and testing: Your HERS Rater will conduct inspections and testing during and after construction to verify that your home meets the ZERH program requirements. This may include blower door tests to check for air leakage, duct leakage tests, and other performance measurements.
Apply for certification: After your home passes all inspections and testing, your HERS Rater will submit the required documentation to CHEERS for ZERH certification. CHEERS reviews and approves your submission, your home will be awarded the ZERH certification.
Remember, the key to a successful ZERH-certified home is close collaboration between you, your builder, and your HERS Rater. Make sure everyone involved understands the program requirements and is committed to building a high-performance, energy-efficient home.