The buzz around Zero Energy Ready building is getting louder. There are many reasons why, including:
• Surging Consumer Interest. A master-planned community in Austin, Texas recently offered 11 homes built to the Zero Energy Ready standard. More than 1,400 home buyers expressed interest. The development team now plans to build 200 more.
• Production Builders Are Going Zero Energy Ready. Names such as Beazer Homes, Mandalay Homes, and Thrive Home Builders are already on-board, and many other respected builders are piloting Zero Energy Ready (ZERH) construction.
• Price Parity with Standard Construction. The cost differential is rapidly vanishing. The Rocky Mountain Institute, a non-profit research organization, reports the cost difference between ZERH homes to ones that meet local energy standards now ranges from 0.9% to 2.5% for the ZERH home.
• Federal Tax Credits of Up to $5,000 Per ZERH Home. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 updated and extended the 45L tax credit for energy-efficient new homes for the next 10 years. A certified ZERH home is now eligible for a $2,500 tax incentive from Uncle Sam, in addition to an ENERGY STAR New Construction Program tax credit of $2,500.
Chances are good you’re already building towards the ZERH standard, whether you know it or not. The 2021 International Energy Conservation Code represents significant changes in energy efficiency requirements that drive toward higher performing materials and building methods. Even if your code jurisdiction is a few cycles behind, it’s no secret where building practices are headed, if for no other reason than to stay relevant and competitive. The 45L tax credit, for example, is conditional on meeting Department of Energy (DOE) mandatory requirements for ZERH construction.
In short, there’s never been a better time to weigh your ZERH building options.
Working with distributors and manufacturers that have your back is one of the first crucial first steps, helping answer questions such as:
- Which building systems represent best practice in your climate zone?
- How do you achieve ZERH standards with minimal budget impact?
- What can you do to differentiate yourself as the go-to ZERH building specialist and the big-dollar tax savings that represents?
Victoria Raineri and William Ranson have some ideas.
The two building system authorities work for DuPont Performance Building Solutions. Their roles put them at the center of the industry’s evolution to ZERH construction principles. “We assist with the products, field support, and technical knowledge contractors need from start to finish,” says Raineri, DuPont marketing manager - residential.
“Take the building envelope, for example,” says Ranson, DuPont building knowledge center leader. “To meet DOE qualifications, insulation must meet or exceed 2021 International Energy Conservation Code. Working with envelope system experts vastly simplifies product specification and installation.”
Raineri cites her company’s array of ZERH-grade building envelope solutions, led by Tyvek water-resistive barrier systems. “You need an envelope system that is tested to work well,” she says.
Ranson notes the support network behind the materials. Like any network consideration, you want the biggest and the best to eliminate surprises and callbacks. “We have over 160 building envelope specialists throughout the U.S. Your local specialist is available to coach and advise on installation of a Tyvek barrier system, continuous insulation, and air sealing requirements,” he says.
Both Raineri and Ranson advise contractors to take maximum advantage of the ZERH opportunities before them, including updated and extended federal tax credits.
Learn more about how DuPont Performance Building Solutions can help differentiate and grow your business.