Secondary Author(s)

Sherwin, John; Hoak, David; Chandra, Subrato; Martin, Eric

Report Number




Zero Energy Homes; Buildings


The U.S. Department of Energy's Building America (BA) program is working to increase the energy efficiency of new and existing homes while increasing comfort, and durability and reducing resource use. As part of this program we pursue opportunities to research highly efficient homes with the goal of understanding what works, what doesn't work, and the most economic ways to reach very high efficiency targets. The program aims to create cost neutral zero energy homes by 2020. In pursuit of this goal, this home and other research homes around the country designed to approach or achieve the zero energy goal are being built and studied.

The performance summary on a near zero energy home (NZEH) presented here was a result of collaboration between the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), the Florida H.E.R.O., an innovative developer and builder in Gainesville, Florida under the auspices of the U.S. DOE sponsored Building America Industrialized Housing Partnership (BAIHP) project. This paper briefly reviews the design and then focuses on the first half year energy performance of the project home during the second half of 2008.

In general, a zero energy home is designed to produce as much energy as it consumes over the course of a full year. The BA program definition is more specific: A zero energy home is designed to offset as much source energy as it consumes over a typical year (based on TMY3 data) using BA Benchmark assumptions for typical occupant behavior. To achieve zero energy the home exchanges energy with the utility power grid. It delivers energy to the grid when the photovoltaic (PV) system is producing more energy than is being used in the home and draws from the grid when the PV system is producing less energy than needed in the home.

The particular project here is termed 'a Near Zero Energy Home' (NZEH) with the intention that it provide 70% of its annual electrical energy and 62% of its annual site energy requirement (including natural gas) when evaluated over a full year. This project is a case study of reaching near the zero energy goal within a hot humid climate in a more cost effective manner than in earlier efforts.

Date Published


Local Subjects

Buildings - Zero Energy Homes


FSEC Energy Research Center® Collection



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