Net Zero, Five Organizations, Five Ways

  • Raters/Verifiers
  • August 15, 2018

Did you know that five prominent home certification organizations offer net zero and net zero ready recognition for Northwest single family new homes?

  1. Built Green
  2. DOE
  3. Earth Advantage
  4. International Living Future Institute

Each of these organizations has a certification for net zero homes, and they vary slightly when it comes to the definition of net zero. Some certifications assess energy based on site use, while others look at source energy. Additionally, some require participants to model expected energy use, and others rely on verified post-occupancy use. This article presents a high level overview of net zero certifications from these organizations - visit their websites to dive deeper and learn which certification makes sense for you.

Built Green
  • Certification Name: Built Green® Net Zero Energy Label, and Emerald Star Level
  • Energy Metric: Site
  • Energy Requirement: Modeled
  • Overview: The Built Green® Net Zero Energy Label indicates that a project has demonstrated via an energy model that it will produce as much renewable energy onsite as it will consume over the course of a year.
  • Certification Name: Zero Energy Ready Home, and Zero Energy Building
  • Energy Metric: Source
  • Energy Requirement: Modeled
  • Overview: A Zero Energy Building is a energy-efficient building where, on a source energy basis, the actual annual delivered energy is less than or equal to the on-site renewable exported energy. Zero Energy Ready Homes meet a target HERS index number, plus additional prescriptive requirements.
Earth Advantage
  • Certification Name: Zero Energy Certification
  • Energy Metric: Site
  • Energy Requirement: Modeled
  • Overview: Zero energy homes generate as much energy on site as they use over the course of each year. Homes must demonstrate via energy modeling that PV production offsets at least 90% of the annual energy load. This model assumes full occupancy, and/or number of bedrooms plus one.
International Living Future Institute
  • Certification Name: Living Building Challenge full and petal certifications, Zero Energy Certification
  • Energy Metric: Site
  • Energy Requirement: Verified post occupancy
  • Overview: Renewable energy supplies one hundred percent of the building’s energy needs on a net annual basis. No combustion is allowed.*
  • Certification Name: HERS Net Zero Energy Home
  • Energy Metric: Site, based on modified end use loads
  • Energy Requirement: Modeled
  • Overview: Achieve a HERS index number of zero, through a combination of modeled energy efficiency and renewables. Zero net purchased conventional energy allowed. 

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The BetterBuiltNW team will present on the topic of: What We Do With Data in the Dark: Using Data to Transform the Market for High-Performance Homes. Read on for the full abstract, and we hope to see you there!

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