Zero Energy Ready Home Multifamily Case Study Analysis

Stacey Rothgeb, Jordan Dentz, Kunal Alaigh, Stacey Rothgeb (NREL Technical Monitor)

Research output: NRELSubcontract Report


Two multifamily buildings planned in Climate Zone 4 were analyzed to determine the cost, energy and performance implications of redesigning them to comply with Zero Energy Ready Home, a recognition program of the U.S. Department of Energy. Energy modeling was conducted on one representative apartment in each building using BEopt. Construction costs were obtained from the developer and subcontractors to determine savings and cost increases over ENERGY STAR. It was found that seven items would be necessary to change to comply with ZERH criteria when starting from the original design which was compliant with ENERGY STAR version 3.0. Design changes were made to the exterior walls, domestic water heating system, duct protection, duct design, garage ventilation, and pest control to comply with ZERH requirements. Energy impacts of upgrading from the original design to ZERH resulted in 2 to 8% reduction in modeled source energy consumption, or 1.7 to 10.4 MMBtu per year, although the original design was already about 8% better than a design configured to minimum ENERGY STAR criteria. According to the BEopt analysis, annualized energy related costs of the ZERH design were slightly higher for the apartment and slightly lower for the townhome when compared to the original design.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages42
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Work performed by Advanced Residential Integrated Energy Solutions Collaborative, New York, New York

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/SR-5500-64762

Other Report Number

  • DOE/GO-102016-4735


  • BEopt building energy optimization software
  • Building America
  • DHW distribution efficiency
  • ducts in conditioned space
  • equipment sizing
  • multifamily
  • residential
  • residential buildings
  • ZERH
  • zero energy ready home


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