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Whole-Building Design Strategies


Solution Center Guides


Case study describing a zero energy ready home (ZERH) that was recently completed featuring an innovative wall system. This highly insulated (high-R) light-frame wall system, called the extended plate and beam (EP&B), is for use above grade in residential buildings. 

The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) has completed a fourth year-long evaluation on residential hot water heating systems in a laboratory environment (east central Florida, hot-humid climate). This report contains a summary of research activities regarding the evaluation of two residential electric heat pump water heaters (HPWHs), a solar thermal system utilizing a polymer glazed absorber and a high efficiency natural gas system.

The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) has completed a fourth year-long evaluation on residential hot water heating systems in a laboratory environment (east central Florida, hot-humid climate). This report contains a summary of research activities regarding the evaluation of two residential electric heat pump water heaters (HPWHs), a solar thermal system utilizing a polymer glazed absorber and a high efficiency natural gas system.

This case study presents a cold-climate project that examines an alternative approach to ground source heat pump (GSHP) ground loop design. The innovative ground loop design is an attempt to reduce the installed cost of the ground loop heat exchange portion of the system by containing the entire ground loop within the excavated location beneath the basement slab.

Tankless water heaters can deliver large quantities of hot water under changing load conditions and at a relatively constant temperature, like storage water heaters, but without suffering the standby loss (tank heat loss) of the storage water heaters.

Information guide providing background information about air flow in residential buildings.

Information guide providing background information about heat flow in residential buildings.

Information guide providing background information about moisture flow in residential buildings.

Information guide describing how to calculate ventilation area in existing roofs.

Guide describing Indoor airPLUS construction specifications for carpets.

Guide describing Indoor airPLUS construction specifications for low-VOC pressed wood materials.

Guide describing Indoor airPLUS construction specifications for low/no VOC paints and finishes.

Vapor retarders can be a crucial part of the building envelope and can help manage moisture issues to keep the home dry. However, before installing a vapor retarder, installers must be aware that in some instances vapor retarders can increase the likelihood of condensation issues.

Guide describing how to conduct combustion appliance zone testing.

Guide describing how to choose and install a carbon monoxide alarm.

Guide describing options for designing/locating the thermal boundary in new and existing homes.

Guide describing how to install screening to keep birds, rodents, and other pests out of vent openings in new and existing homes.

Thrive Home Builders built this 2,780-ft2 townhome in Lone Tree, Colorado, to the high-performance requirements of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH) Program. 

Thrive Home Builders built this 4,119-ft2 home at the Lowry development in Denver, Colorado, to the high-performance criteria of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Home Program.

United Way of Long Island’s Housing Development Corporation built this 3,719-ft2 two–story, 5-bedroom home in Huntington Station, New York, to the rigorous performance requirements of the U.S. Department of Energy's Zero Energy Ready Homes Program.

This guide describes the uses, selection process, and specification of high-MERV filters.

Guide describing how to conduct a home performance assessment before beginning retrofit projects in existing homes.

Guide with information about how to upgrade a garage ceiling when a portion of the interior of the house is located directly above the attached garage by adding insulation and air sealing.

This guide describes RESNET Grade 1 level installation of insulation in walls, attics, and floors.

Information guide describing WaterSense requirements for outdoor ornamental water features.

Information guide describing how to assess attics, ceilings and roofs before proceeding with upgrades in existing homes.

Retrofit guide describing how to assess harmful gasses such as carbon monoxide, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and soot from existing combustion appliances.

Information guide describing how to assess crawlspaces and basements before proceeding with upgrades in existing homes.

This guide can help you assess an existing Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system for potential intervention such as repair, upgrade or expansion, or replacement.


Information guide describing pre-retrofit actions to take to assess for asbestos, volatile organic comounds (VOCs) soil gasses including radon and lead.

Information guide describing how to perform a thorough visual evaluation of walls, windows and doors before proceeding with renovation projects.

Guide describing how to install a radon mitigation fan with various types of house foundations.

Guide describing ways to reduce access to bugs, rodents and other pests through openings in a home.

Guide describing removal of construction debris from flex ducts and protection of ducts and HVAC equipment during construction to keep them free of dust and debris.

A guide for choosing and installing roof anchoring systems for solar panels.

Guide describing how to reduce exposure to environmental tobacco smoke in multi-family buildings.

This information guide describes the need for ventilating a home before occupancy to reduce the concentration of VOC emissions in the home.

Guide describing how to install a radon-mitigating vertical ventilation pipe in existing homes with various types of house foundations.