Wind zone and Energy (thermal) zone ratings are established by HUD. Inside the home is a sticker (usually located in the kitchen on the door under the sink or inside one of the bedroom closets) identifying the rating of that particular home.
Wind zones. Wind Zone 3 houses are designed for hurricane-prone areas; Wind Zone 2 houses, for other coastal areas; Wind Zone 1 houses, for most of the rest of the U.S. Your local inspection office will help you determine exactly which wind zone is required for your area. The higher the wind zone, the more expensive the home as a general rule.
Energy zones. Thermal Zone 3 houses (Northern U.S.) have more insulation than houses intended for Thermal Zone 2, which in turn have more insulation than Thermal Zone 1 houses.