The Energy Department announced on August 20 a new partnership between the Department's Challenge Home program and Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) on a voluntary certification process for homes that are so energy-efficient, they can offset most or all of their utility bills with a small renewable energy system. These homes are referred to as zero net-energy ready homes. Home builders participating in these programs gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace by providing their customers with homes featuring unparalleled energy savings, quality, comfort, health, and durability.
This partnership will provide a seamless path for builders to achieve maximum energy efficiency by providing Challenge Home certification as a first step to the Passive House program.
The Energy Department's Challenge Home program certifies homes that are 40 to 50% more energy efficient than typical homes, while also helping to minimize the risk of indoor air quality problems and ensuring compatibility with renewable energy systems. Through the Challenge Home program and its original Builders Challenge specifications, the Department has certified more than 13,500 homes which are saving consumers more than $10 million each year. Among these certified homes, more than 1,350 are considered zero-net energy ready homes based on Home Energy Rating System (HERS) scores of 55 or lower.
PHIUS certifies building designs that are 65 to75% more energy efficient than a typical new home, even before installing renewable energy systems. They have also trained nearly 400 construction professionals to build these homes.
Highlights of the partnership include:
• DOE Challenge Home certification will be a prerequisite for projects achieving PHIUS+ Certification.
• DOE and PHIUS will jointly promote each other's programs.
• DOE and PHIUS will share program participation results and guidance.
The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. Additional information on the DOE Challenge Home program can be found on the Energy Department's website