Department of Energy - Zero Energy Ready Homes Certification Program

We recommend the ZERH Certification program for owners and builders that want a distinguished home that is extremely energy efficient, comfortable, and healthy.

Zero Energy Ready Home requirements compared to other certification programs.

Zero Energy Ready Home requirements compared to other certification programs.

Energy codes in Massachusetts are among the best in the country. Our new construction market has evolved so no longer are ‘green building’ or 'high performance' effective at distinguishing exceptional homes from common homes.

The DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes (ZERH) program is an established certification program that defines a bar just above Stretch Code, but below Passive House, with the right priorities. By achieving the ZERH label, the home is verified not only to be energy efficient, but also to be healthy, well-designed, and ready for a low-carbon future. ZERH does not require cost increases over homes built to code.

To become certified, the home must:

  • Comply with ENERGY STAR 3.1 program requirements
  • Provide comprehensive indoor air quality through EPAs Indoor airPLUS program
  • Complete the PV-Ready checklist (PV not required)
  • Meet 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) Code Levels of Insulation
  • Conserve water and energy through best practice hot water systems and fixtures
  • Feature ENERGY STAR qualified appliances and fixtures

The certification process requires:

  • Design with energy performance and healthy home features
  • Oversight by the General contractor to ensure subcontractors are following through with program standards
  • Administrative work - program standards must be understood and verified
  • 3rd party verification - greater oversight by the HERS Rater
  • Healthy building systems and materials