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Everything Home Buyers Need to Know About Green Homes

Newly launched web tool showcases energy-efficient homes

September 2015
Everything Home Buyers Need to Know About Green Homes
Tour of Zero features over 500 photos of energy-efficient homes that meet the strict Department of Energy Zero Energy Ready Home requirements.
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For many home buyers, especially first-time buyers, traversing the land of home ownership can be confusing. Add on a layer of "green" marketing lingo, and the home buying process can seem like a gamble. Are you really getting the best quality home for your investment? Are the "energy efficient" features your realtor swears by really going to save you money?

The Department of Energy’s Tour of Zero webpage helps home buyers navigate these questions by educating them about what to look for when purchasing an energy efficient home. In addition to information about "Zero Energy Ready" home builders in their area, it provides floorplans, photos, and in-depth case studies where energy-conscious home buyers can learn about climate-specific building strategies. Award-winning homes across the nation that meet the DOE Zero Energy Ready Home program requirements are featured alongside their real utility cost data and calculated annual utility cost savings.

The Zero Energy Ready program requires participating homes to meet strict efficiency requirements, including the latest version of ENERGY STAR Certified Homes, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Indoor airPLUS program and many of the WaterSense program requirements, and the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code insulation levels. All Zero Energy Ready homes must be able to accommodate solar panels if the homeowner chooses to install them. Finally, all of the Tour of Zero homes are zero-energy ready, and many of them perform to a true net zero, meaning they produce as much power in one year as they consume.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory building science researchers worked with web developers to create the website for DOE's Buildings Technologies Office.

PNNL Team: Michael Baechler, Theresa Gilbride, and Jessica Weber


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