DOE Challenge HomeThe 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.

Clifton View Homes in Coupeville, WA is a winner in the Systems Builder category.  This 2,908 square-foot Whidbey Island Challenge Home was completed in July 2011 and earned the builder its first Challenge Home certification.  The home achieved an impressive HERS index score of 34 and is projected to save the homeowners $1,500 in annual energy costs compared to a similar sized code built home.

Company founder Ted Clifton integrates an extremely tight building envelope using structural insulated panel walls, passive solar thermal mass floors, and an innovative ventilation system to create an energy-efficient, high-performance home. Without the need for a central air conditioner, the home can be heated and cooled for pennies a day.  “We began our commitment to net-zero-energy homes in 2006, and every home we have designed and built since has been at least net-zero-ready,” explains Clifton.  “I feel like I’m cheating my customer if I don’t give them a house that is net-zero-ready; it’s just the right way to build.”

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.

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