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Award-Winning DOE Zero-Energy Ready Home In St. Paul

March 12, 2020

Stonebridge Residence

In 2020, our team built a custom Zero-Energy Ready Home spanning 4,795 square feet in the vibrant city of Saint Paul.

This achievement aligns with the rigorous high-performance standards set by the U.S. Department of Energy's Zero-Energy Ready Home (ZERH) program.

Curious about what a Zero-Energy Ready Home entails? We've got you covered. In this article, we will provide insight into what it takes to build a Zero-Energy Ready Home, highlighting its significance, and expanding into additional captivating details. So, without any further delay, let's dive in.

What is a Zero-Energy Ready Home?

Zero-Energy Ready Homes are like any other home—but better. A zero-energy home combines advanced architectural design and superior building systems with energy efficiency and on-site solar panels to produce a better home. Zero Energy Ready Homes are ultra-comfortable, healthy, quiet, sustainable homes that leave the occupants with a net-zero energy bill, and a carbon-free home.

For a home to be certified as a Zero Energy Ready home, it must meet rigorous requirements by the DOE. Zero Energy Ready 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 the region in which it is built.

Having a DOE Certification home is beneficial for the environment and your carbon footprint, but here at Sustainable 9, we like to take things a step further. At Sustainable 9, our homes are not only DOE-certified but also Energy Star Certified and AirPlus Certified.

DOE ZERH Certification Requirements

At Sustainable 9, our commitment to designing and building sustainable modern homes goes beyond mere branding. We wholeheartedly embrace the principles of sustainability and strive to minimize our clients' carbon footprint. It's no surprise, then, that building Zero-Energy Ready Homes aligns with our values. However, it's crucial to recognize that building a Zero-Energy Ready Home entails a level of complexity that surpasses initial expectations.

Simply put, here's a brief list of what goes into designing and building a Zero-Energy Ready Home.

  • Ceiling, wall, floor, & slab insulation meet or exceed 2021 IECC UA levels
  • Windows meet high-performance requirements based on climate zone
  • All builder-supplied and-installed appliances are ENERGY STAR qualified
  • 100% of builder-installed lighting fixtures and lamps (bulbs) provided are LEDs
  • Certified under EPA Indoor airPLUS
  • Energy-efficient balanced ventilation (HRV or ERV) is provided in Climate Zones 6 - 8

The certification process for DOE Zero-Energy Ready Homes extends well beyond the outlined requirements, revealing a depth of intricacy that may surprise many. To gain a comprehensive understanding of the construction guidelines necessary to achieve DOE Zero-Energy Ready Home certification, it is highly recommended to consult the detailed guide provided by the DOE. 

Now that you've come this far, let's take a closer look at the Stonebridge Residence.

The Details

Coined the Mighty Mississippi, the Stonebridge Residence stands as a testament to its multitude of energy-efficient solutions and architecturally striking design, proudly embodying several energy-efficient features and home certifications. 

Many innovative sustainable features were incorporated into the home’s design plans. The CEE’s team provided progress inspections and feedback reports to ensure these features matched rating codes and kept the build on track to achieve Zero-Energy Ready certification. CEE’s energy raters went above and beyond the usual standard rating process by providing ongoing design consultation and energy modeling updates during construction.

Energy-Efficient Features Include:

  • High-performance Tstud™ insulation system
  • Energy recovery fresh air system
  • Almost 100% electric appliances
  • Energy-efficient appliances and LED lighting
  • PV solar arrays
  • Frain water heat recovery system
  • Motion-activated hot water recirculation
  • Geothermal heat pump system for heating and cooling

The home itself is nothing short of remarkable, leaving a lasting impression on anyone who sets foot inside. 

Savings + Awards

Following an extensive year-long study, the CEE carefully gathered the potential savings of this home.

  • 4,785 square feet
  • $-15 average monthly energy bill
  • $5,900 annual savings
  • $245,700 saved in the first 30 years

Did we mention this home has a few certifications and awards under its belt?

  • -8 HERS Rating
  • EPA Indoor AirPlus Certification
  • DOE Housing Innovation Award
  • Xcel Energy Home of the Year

With the help of CEE, the Stonebridge Residence met multiple above-code energy efficiency certifications and won the DOE Housing Innovation Award at the 2020 Energy and Environmental Building Alliance (EEBA) Summit.

Why This Matters

Given the escalating climate crisis, we are experiencing more frequent and intense droughts, storms, heat waves, rising sea levels, melting glaciers, and warming oceans. These events can cause significant harm to our planet, as well as people's lives and communities. Building a Zero-Energy Ready Home offers an excellent way to make a positive environmental impact and address these challenges head-on.

Be Part Of The Solution

For those in search of a Minnesota-based custom home builder who is passionate about modern home design and wholeheartedly committed to sustainability, look no further than Sustainable 9. With their team of in-house architects, designers, carpenters, and engineers, they will collaborate closely with you to make your dream home a reality.

Exhibiting artisanal craftsmanship with a blend of functionality, their modern designs are thoughtfully tailored to meet your lifestyle. Reach out to Sustainable 9 and share your vision of your custom-built dream home today.

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