U.S. Department of Energy’s Housing Innovation Award recognizes sustainability and energy efficiency in residential design and construction practices
Washington, DC ––The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Housing Innovation Awards celebrate an elite group of builders who are paving the way for the rest of the U.S. housing industry by providing zero energy-ready homes. These high-performance homes are so energy efficient they can offset most or all annual energy consumption with renewable energy systems. This is significant, because they are better for our nation, our communities, and individual homeowners by creating jobs, increasing energy security, reducing air pollution, and lowering the cost of home ownership. The 2013 Housing Innovation Awards for DOE Challenge Home recognize builders in four categories: affordable, custom, production and systems.
“Housing Innovation Award winners are leading a major housing industry transformation to zero energy ready homes. This level of performance is the home of the future because it improves the way Americans live by substantially reducing or eliminating utility bills, ensuring engineered comfort way beyond traditional homes, protecting health with a comprehensive package of indoor air quality measures, and helping maximize the largest investment of a lifetime,” said Sam Rashkin, DOE Building Technologies Office Chief Architect.
Palo Duro Homes, Inc., of Albuquerque, NM, is a winner in the Production Builder category. The company’s first certified DOE Challenge Home in Aztec, NM also earned LEED for Homes Gold standard certification. Since certifying their first home, the company has certified 65-plus Challenge Homes. Palo Duro Homes is producing high-performance homes at an affordablel price range for their market -between $250,000- $350,000.
Advanced framing techniques, high-efficiency HVAC equipment, low flow showerheads and toilets, and ENERGY STAR rated appliances and lighting all contribute to the high performance of the homes. To ensure indoor air quality, each home is equipped with either a heat recovery ventilator or energy recovery ventilator. The homes typically score below a 50 on the HERS index. The company has expressed goals of producing 200-300 of these homes each year. “We have made every effort to create homes that are as energy efficient as possible, low maintenance, and sustainable as possible,” explains their president, Tom Wade. “We are intentional in the building process to ensure that the home owner can rely on two main qualities in their home: predictability and consistency. The high quality of construction and materials ensures predictable performance. And the energy efficiency and water savings will ensure consistently low utility bills for long-term cost savings along with low environmental impact.”
Since 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Builders Challenge program has recognized hundreds of leading builders for their achievements in energy efficiency—resulting in millions of dollars in energy savings. The DOE Challenge Home — an ambitious successor to the Builders Challenge program — represents a whole new level of home performance, with rigorous requirements that ensure outstanding levels of energy savings, comfort, health, and durability on the path to zero energy ready homes.
To learn more about DOE’s Housing Innovation Awards Program, visit http://www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/residential/housing_innovation_awards.html.
To learn more about DOE’s HPwES Program and how to participate, visit buildings.energy.gov/challenge.