Give us a call to learn what you need to do to build an Energy Star or ZERH certified home.


A Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) is an Energy Star-rated home that goes a few steps further in design to make it Indoor airPLUS (IAP)-certified and solar panel-ready. Energy Star builders can differentiate themselves in the housing market by offering buyers this step toward a future-ready zero-emission home.

Established by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Zero Energy Ready Home certification ensures the home will be at least 40 – 50% more energy efficient and have healthier indoor air quality than a typical new home. By working with a HERS Rater throughout the design and build process builders can be sure they will have the documentation to qualify for the 45L Federal tax credit of $5,000 per residential unit.

Priority Energy works with builders of single family and multifamily homes to make the ZERH construction requirements easier to understand, implement, and achieve. Our HERS Raters will review your plans and create an energy model based on DOE Zero Energy Ready Home National Program Requirements. Following the Energy Star for Homes baseline you have already established, we will test and design component trade-offs to meet the additional efficiency criteria.

ZERHs include features that streamline and reduce the cost of adding a solar electric system in the future. This includes running conduit from the attic to a future inverter location, providing the roof's load ratings to the homeowner to avoid significant expense securing engineering calculations, and extra circuit breakers.

ZERH - certified homes qualify for a $5,000 Tax Credit. Work with us, your local HERS Raters, to be sure you get the certification documents for tax filing. 

DOE Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) National Program Requirements:

Single-Family New Homes - Zero Energy Ready Homes (ZERH) Version 1 requirements - permitted before December 31, 2023.
Single-Family New Homes - Zero Energy Ready Homes (ZERH) Version 2 requirements - permitted after January 1, 2024.

Multifamily Homes - Dwellings must meet Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) Version 1 requirements - permitted before December 31, 2023.
Multifamily Homes - Dwellings must meet Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) Version 1. Rev. 9 - permitted after January 1, 2024.

Manufactured Homes - Zero Energy Ready Home Manufactured Homes Version 1 requirements

The ZERH Process:

  • The first step for builders is to register with the U.S. Department of Energy:

  • Energy Star for Homes Baseline – The home/dwelling unit must meet the requirements for the EPA's Energy Star for Homes program.
  • Envelope – Fenestration shall meet or exceed Energy Star requirements, while insulation shall meet or exceed IECC 2015 Levels.
  • Duct System – Duct systems and the HVAC air handler must be located within the home's thermal boundary and air barrier boundary or in an optimized location to achieve comparable performance.
  • Water Efficiency – Hot water delivery systems (piping) and water heaters shall meet efficient design requirements such as maximum distance/water volume from hot water source and EF standards for the water heaters.
  • Lights and Appliances – All installed appliances, at least 80% of lighting, and all ventilation fans must be Energy Star qualified.
  • Indoor Air Quality – The home must be certified under the EPA's Indoor Air Plus program. Builder must become a "IAPlus partner" and follow the IAP requirements/checklist.
  • Renewable Ready – Depending on the location of the home, there may be requirements that the home be ready for renewables (example - space for an inverter and pre-piping for running wires between the inverter and the roof).


Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) Design Requirements:

  • Insulation Requirements - IECC 2015 levels and Grade I (many states are using IECC 2018 or later, which are stricter).
  • Cooling Equipment - >=13 SEER in IECC Climate Zone 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and >= 15 SEER in all other zones.
  • Heating Equipment - >= 95 AFUE Gas Furnace or 90 AFUE Gas Boiler or Heat Pump = >= 8.5 HSPF/15 SEER CZ 4, 9.25 HSPF/15 SEER CZ 5, 9.5 HSPF/15 SEER CZ 6, 3.6 COP/17.1 EER ground source w/electric backup in CZ7, and >= 8.2 HSPF/15 SEER CZ 2, 3.
  • Blower Door/Infiltration Rates – 4ACH50 in CZ <=2 and 3 ACH50 in CZ 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8.
  • Windows – U-value between 0.27 - 0.4 depending on Climate Zone, and an SHGC of none for Climate Zone 5-8 and 0.25 – 0.4 in CZ1-4.
  • Water Heater – An energy factor (EF) between 0.45 - 0.94 depending on type (gas/electric/oil) and size.
  • Lights/Appliances – Energy Star appliances and high efficiency light bulbs.

Priority Energy is happy to discuss your next single or multi-family home design. We can guide you on the Energy Star, Indoor AirPlus and ZERH construction processes. Call us today at 312-767-9047.

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  • I just wanted to send this message to all you and say GREAT JOB!  We had a rough inspection today and passed for the Woodward Ave. house. The inspector told us "if every house I inspected looked like this one I would be out a job".

    Anonymous Builder
  • We were so impressed with the amount of information the Priority Energy technicians gave us during our ENERGY AUDIT.  If you are buying a house, I would strongly recommend having them do an energy audit on it, in addition to your usual home inspection.

  • Thanks for a super intelligent and deep seminar expertly handled by a staff which was a pleasure to be around. Lunch was superbly and subtly handled.

    A.S. Architect
  • I wanted to thank you for all of your extra time and energy during our BPI training over the last few weeks. You really helped put things in perspective. You are an awesome crew and your facility is a valuable resource for students and the community

    BPI Student, L.E.
  • There is much less dust in the house and the monthly gas and electric charges have been reduced by 10 to 15%.....I'm sure I will see greater savings over a twelve month period......thanks again.

    Aeroseal Client, R.N.
  • Just completed my BPI Field exam for my Quality Control Inspector (QCI) certification renewal at Priority Energy.
    Such a convenient and well-set-up training and test center with caring and knowledgeable staff and proctors! Thanks folks!


    P.R., Ottawa, IL
  • It's been cold here for the past few days and I really feel the difference in heating since the building was Aerosealed! My apartment is so much warmer now. Thank you Priority Energy!


    Miruna; Tenant at Country Manor Apartments, Peru, IL
  • Anytime I can be a reference for all the great work on my (new) house, please let me know.  Priority Energy is outstanding at what they do!

    Executive at Medline Industries, IL
  • I have a two story home built in the mid seventies. Lots of temperature fluctuation between the floors. The Aeroseal process dramatically increased the air flow to the second floor. Good experience. The company was very informative, answered a lot of questions.

    Vince from Oakbrook, IL
  • "It's been cold here for the past few days and I really feel the difference in heating since the Aeroseal, my apartment is so much warmer now. Thank you!"  

    MP from Peru, IL
  • Thank You so much for the super-fast turn around of our Manual J, D and S reprt for the Village of Glen Ellyn. Our original Manual J kept getting kicked back to us for corrections but your calculations/report got approved instantly-no questions asked and no more permit delays!

    Kim, Glen Ellyn, IL
  • Thank you. Truly. I appreciate you taking the time to clarify things for me and then going above and beyond to ensure that my CEUs are handled for our current RESNET cycle. You’ve always been kind to me and this is another shining example of that.

    Craig, HERS Rater, Batavia, IL
  • (Aeroseal) is a GREAT Product! Really made our townhouse more comfortable!

    Gordon; Chicago, IL
  • We are having less ice on roof since the Aeroseal duct sealing! Thanks!

    Bill; Downers Grove, IL
  • Duct sealing (with Aeroseal) was the smartest thing I ever did! Our home is sooooo much more comfortable! We were so very pleased with Priority Energy and their technicians!

    Richard; Lake Forest, IL
  • On to the Radon issue - Excellent results with Aeroseal!  From 5 + to a .4.  Before sealing like we discussed, I had warm air coming out of the sump basket with the furnace running. Even with the furnace running, it is still pulling air in now.

    Bill; Belvidere, IL
  • Pat was awesome and super helpful! We are experiencing weak air flow in the duct system of our 1950''s home and Pat gave us great recommendations to fix the problem when we do our remodel.

    David; Arlington Heights, IL
  • Already the house seems more balanced (since Aeroseal duct sealing yesterday) .. far end of house is getting more warm air flow!

    Bryan, November 2019, Chicago, IL
  • Priority Energy did a great job with an Aeroseal project for my home. The rooms are more comfortable and even throughout the house, including the far registers which never used to get significant airflow. Very honest and trustworthy

    Bryan, December 2019, Chicago, IL
  • I hired Priority to seal the ducts and air seal my home.  I have been very pleased with

    the results.  The personnel from this company are professional and quite competent.  I have literally saved

    Nelson, Lake Forest
  • Priority Energy did a great job with an Aeroseal project for my home. The rooms are more comfortable and even throughout the house, including the far registers which never used to get significant airflow.

    B. L., Chicago, IL Feb. 2020
  • Used Priority Energy to help insulate (Aeroseal) a property we purchased and could not have been happier.
    R. M., Lake Bluff, IL April 2020
  • Very knowledgeable and professional (Aeroseal) staff. I definitely highly recommend and would use again in the future for other services!

    D.F., Chicago, IL Feb. 2020
  • Employees were all very helpful and professional! Came out in a timely manner (to do our Duct Test). Would highly recommend this company!

    J. R. New Lenox, IL April 2020
  • I had Priority Energy analyze my older home for indoor air quality and comfort because I was having difficulty maintaining temperatures. They came out and discussed our options. We ended up sealing our ducts and installing a whole-house dehumidifier.

    D. L, Lake Zurich, IL Feb. 2019
  • Priority Energy did an aeroseal for our home. We have had issues with air flow in our kitchen (cold in the winter) and one bedroom upstairs (hot in the summer). After they were complete, there is such a stronger air flow from the vents, that it really makes a difference.

    J.J. Chicago, IL - November 2020
  • Excellent Service and Company to work with - highly recommended and professional!

    T. B. Chicago, IL - July 2020
  • Before we sealed our ductwork the rooms farthest from the furnace were always hotter or colder than the rest of the house. We felt an improvement in air flow to the kids rooms right away. 98% duct leak reduction!

    S. H. Glenview, IL - October 2020
  • The Energy Audit you did on last home was so helpful; we referred to it for years when we made home improvements. I'd like to have you do an audit on my new home now. B. A.

    B. A. Lake Forest Homeowner
  • "We were impressed with how well your technicians answered our questions and how quickly and neatly they performed our Aeroseal service. Our rooms are much warmer now that the duct leaks have been sealed! You have a great team."

    D.F. Palatine, IL
  • "You have a great Aeroseal team. We were impressed with how well they answered our questions and how quickly and neatly they performed our service. Our rooms are much warmer now that the duct leaks have been sealed!"  

    D.F., Homeowner in Palatine, IL
  • "We enjoyed meeting Dave, our Energy Auditor.  He was interesting, knowledgeable, and professional.  We appreciated all his time and effort." 

    S.B., Homeowner in Prospect Heights, IL
  • Priority Energy is an A+ company! I've been having issues with my house staying warm in the winter so I called them up and they came out right away. Kurt was so helpful and professional! He explained everything that was going on in my house and gave me  peace of mind.

    M.I., Homeowner in Norridge, IL
  • "The employees that showed up were friendly and took care to make sure they kept the house clean while performing the aeroseal job. They explained the procedure thoroughly, I would recommend this company A+."

    T.B., Elgin, IL
  • Excellent service and quality! (excerpt)

    R.N., Inverness, IL
  • "I had Priority energy clean and then aeroseal my supply ducts; what a great experience! Great communication, great technicians, and great overall customer service!

    M.G., Downers Grove, IL
  • The Duct Leakage assessment we had yesterday was extremely informative! I'm glad we had you come to our home.

    D.K. Homeowner, Chicago, IL
  • Anthony was brilliant and answered all my questions. Really appreciate his expertise on our energy audit!
    January 2023

    S.K., Chicago, IL
  • David was very professional, thorough, and easy to work with. He provided us with a clear, detailed report with helpful suggestions as to how to improve our home.

    C.S. Chicago, IL
  • I highly trust and recommend this company for their prompt response, punctuality, and honesty in the performance of their service.

    C. H. Chicago, IL

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