US Department of Energy Builders Challenge

Washington, DC

DOE has posed a challenge to the homebuilding industry to build an increasing number of high performance homes which achieve a 70 or better on the EnergySmart Home Scale (E-Scale). These homes will use at least 30% less energy than a typical new home built to code. The E-Scale allows homebuyers to understand – at a glance – how the energy performance of a particular home compares with others.

U.S. homebuilders of all sizes, from all areas of the country, report growing buyer interest in energy-efficient houses. Yet they also find that many homebuyers want help in making informed decisions. How can homebuyers tell exceptional energy performers from average energy performers or code homes? How do they figure out just what that difference will mean in their energy bills?

Spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Builders Challenge is a voluntary effort to provide compelling answers. Through the Builders Challenge, participating homebuilders will have an easy way to differentiate their best energy-performing homes from other products in the marketplace, and to make the benefits clear to buyers.

DOE's ultimate vision is that, by 2030, a consumer will have the opportunity to buy a cost-neutral, net-zero energy home (NZEH) anywhere in the United States — a grid-connected home that, over the course of a year, produces as much energy as it uses. The Builders Challenge establishes a framework for continuous improvement that will help propel the market toward zero-energy performance.

The Builders Challenge is based on lessons learned from the Building America Research Program — a private/public partnership that develops energy solutions for new and existing homes. Learn more about Building America and find out why builders aren't already building homes to this standard as basic practice.