U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Building Technologies Office
Guidelines for Participating in the DOE Challenge Home
The DOE Challenge Home is a new and compelling way to recognize builders for their leadership in increasing energy efficiency, improving indoor air quality, and making homes zero net-energy ready.
The program builds upon the comprehensive building science requirements of ENERGY STAR® for Homes Version 3, along with proven Building America innovations and best practices. Other special attribute programs are incorporated to help builders reach unparalleled levels of performance with homes designed to last hundreds of years.
DOE Challenge Homes are verified by a qualified third-party and are at least 40%-50% more energy efficient than a typical new home. This generally corresponds to a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index Score in the low- to mid-50s, depending on the size of the home and region in which it is built.
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Challenge Home Requirements
DOE Challenge Homes must meet all DOE Challenge Home National Program Requirements (Rev.03). What's new with revision 3.0?
- Comply with ENERGY STAR for Homes for
- Thermal Enclosure
- HVAC Quality Installation (Contractor and HERS Rater)
- Water Management
- The target home/size adjustment factor used by ENERGY STAR
- Help improve indoor air quality by complying with substantial requirements in EPA's Indoor airPLUS checklist
- Feature energy efficient appliances and fixtures that are ENERGY STAR qualified.
- Use high-performance windows that meet ENERGY STAR specifications.
- Meet 2012 International Energy Conservation Code levels for insulation.
- Follow the latest proven research recommendations by installing ducts in conditioned space.
- Conserve water and energy through an efficient hot water distribution system that provides rapid hot water to the homeowner.
- Accomplish savings on the cost of future solar installations by following key provisions from the EPA Renewable Energy Ready Home (RERH) solar electric guide and checklist as well as the solar thermal systems guide and checklist in climates with significant solar insolation.
Third-party Verifiers must submit DOE Challenge Home Performance Path ratings to the RESNET National Buildings Registry.
DOE Challenge Home Builders are encouraged to:
||Commit to constructing 100% of your homes to the U.S. DOE's Challenge Home Requirements.
||Take the next step on the continuous path to Zero Net-Energy Ready Home by meeting the additional requirements of the Passive House Institute US.
||Commit to comprehensive healthy indoor air quality with EPA Indoor airPLUS construction specifications and checklist.
||Minimize water use by participating in the EPA WaterSense for New Single-Family Homes program.
||Fortified for Safer Living
||Embrace disaster resistance by following the Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) FORTIFIED for Safer Living or FORTIFIED Home provisions for regionally specific natural hazards.
||Quality Management Program
||Implement comprehensive quality management practices.
||Ask buyers to sign a waiver allowing DOE Challenge Home access to one year of utility bill data.
Qualify Homes to Meet the Challenge
Builders can follow two different paths in qualifying a home for the DOE Challenge Home initiative.
To use the prescriptive path, follow the DOE Challenge Home National Program Requirements. A registered verifier should submit the prescriptive compliance report after verification that the home meets the challenge.
Registered verifiers can now use REM/Rate V14 and EnergyGauge USA 3.1.00 to qualify homes to meet the DOE Challenge Home. The software will create a DOE Certificate specific to the certified home.
IMPORTANT: Raters must email the DOE Challenge Home Verification Summary report to firstname.lastname@example.org for builder recognition in the DOE Challenge Home program and on the locator tool.
The rationale for the DOE Challenge Home program requirements are:
- Sound science
- Sound data to back-up provisions
- Widespread availability of required products/systems
- Reasonable adaptability to typical builder practices
Draft requirements were published for public review and comment, and responses were viewed through this framework. In response to these comments multiple changes were made to the final requirements. Interested parties can review DOE's responses to public comments.