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University of Minnesota Extension

Extension > Environment > Housing Technology > Zero Energy Ready Home

Build Better, Be Ready!

kitchen exhibit area with visitors to state fair

Learn how to build a home that lives better, works better, and lasts longer. A “Zero Energy Ready Home” (ZERH) is so efficient that a small renewable energy system could eliminate your utility bill.

Find out about ZERH builders and research conducted by University of Minnesota students who won an Department of Energy competition for their design, “Impact House.”

The U’s Cold Climate Housing Program and Center for Sustainable Building Research have developed three different building systems, along with an integrated mechanical system for heating, cooling, ventilation and water heating. These systems can ensure that your new home is built for exceptional comfort, efficiency, durability, and improved indoor air quality as well as long-term performance, upgradability and value.

heating and cooling units

Energy saving heating and cooling systems can bring your energy costs to zero.

The University of Minnesota OptiMN student design team beat 32 other teams to take the top award in the 2015 DOE “Race to Zero” competition. Their winning design, called “Impact House,” uses technologies and systems that look good, work great, and are very affordable. Read a summary of the project. (PDF 1.8 MB)

Industry professionals with experience in Zero Energy Ready Homes are listed in the far right column. Contact them for a consultation or information on building and maintaining a high-performance home.

Looking for a career in sustainable building? The U has three degree programs: The College of Design’s Master of Science in Sustainable Design; the Department of Biosystems and Biosystems Engineering programs in Sustainable Systems Management and Cold Climate Housing Program; and Construction Management in the College of Continuing Education.


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