There is a lot of confusion on the market as to what zero energy is.
We are here to help.
The Zero Energy Capable program ensures a home was designed, built and tested to achieve zero energy with minimal extra efforts from homeowners and tenants. Essentially, a building with this designation should not require anyone to sacrifice health, comfort or a normal standard of living to achieve these goals.
Below are certified projects and below that, you can find project requirements and other FAQs
What are the requirements?
To achieve a Zero Energy Capable Designation we have some simple guidelines that will help make your project a success and set your clients up to achieve their goals of zero energy living.
- Submit a model for a home or building using an approved energy modeling tool. The model must show a zero or negative energy usage over a typical year including all energy consumption and all energy production from renewable energy sources local to the site. The energy consumption and production modeling must be completed by qualified professionals. Consumption from the following items can be excluded: Vehicles, special farm or manufacturing energy consumption (submit an explanation of proposed exclusions with the modeling).
- Build or renovate to the modeled standards and use 3rd party energy testing & inspections to ensure performance. These are specified by the chosen model in step 1. (Minimum tests required include 1. Air leakage of the building envelope; 2. Duct leakage to the outdoors; 3. Total duct leakage; 4. Worst Case Combustion Spillage)
- Project must be GreenStar Homes Certified to the Bronze level or an equivalent baseline level of a relevant green building program*
The project will receive the zero energy capable designation logo on the certificate and be listed and featured on our website.
Does the home need to show zero utility bills?
No. This is designed + built + tested and modeled to be zero energy and utility bills are not required. Homeowners or tenants can apply for our zero energy hero awards on a yearly basis if the utility bills are zero or negative.
What types of projects can certify?
- Single family
- Multifamily housing
- High & Midrise buildings
- Mixed use
- Any commercial building that can be modeled under ASHREA
- New construction
Can I use natural gas, wood heating or other combustion?
Yes. For wood or biofuel we will need to work with model on how to incorporate estimated energy usage. All of this must be offset by renewables.
Why does it have to be GreenStar Certified? Can I use another certification?
The goal is to ensure the project meets some basic green measures so that that it is healthy, durable, water efficient and utilizes sustainable materials.
Other certifications do meet these goals and include but are not limited to;
- National Green Building Standard (NGBS)
- Enterprise Green Communities
- DOE: Zero Energy Ready Home
- Passive House
- Earth Craft
Learn more about each program on our on Demand CE Webinar Making Sense of Green Home Certifications 101
Is there training to help me to do this?
We have many on-demand courses and live tours that cover zero energy
EEBA has a great all day hands-on program that may be coming to a town near you. Learn more
Do I have to count heavy energy using systems?
Your model will need to account for things like
- Driveway warmers
- Ice dam metlers
- Hot tubs
Is there a Zero Water Capable Designation?
We are partnering with the Green Builder Coalition to the Water Efficiency Rating Score to help projects achieve low or zero water usage based on modeling and testing. Similiar to Energy modeling.
Green Home Institute
PO Box 68164
Grand Rapids MI 49516
Tel: (616) 458-6733
Toll Free: (888) 533-3274
- Building a Sustainable Garden Shed | Jessica Bliss of shedplans.org
- Come See the GHI Executive Director, Brett Little, Speak at the Net Zero Build Summit in Novi, Michigan on March 24-25, 2020
- Brainerd Park Apartments – LEED Gold + 100% Affordable
- What are the top 5 YouTube green building education sessions of 2019?
- Will Gallmeyer, Green Projects Group joins GHI Board of Directors in 2019, Elected Treasurer