Zero Net Energy Homes


Length: 10 weeks

Instructor: Marc Rosenbaum

Partner: NESEA: Building Energy Masters Series


Marc Rosenbaum is one of the most popular and best-reviewed speakers at the Building Energy Conference every year. Why? Because he is an engaging speaker, extremely honest, meticulously detailed, and curious by nature. This course is an opportunity to study under Marc - to ask him questions and become his pupil for a full ten-week semester. You'll will walk away with a comprehensive understanding of all of the key components of a zero net energy home - envelope, systems, and renewables - and how they fit together, with key pitfalls to avoid, and numerical guidelines on sizing peak heat loss, glazing amounts, and solar electric systems that will empower you to confidently design a zero net energy home. Successful students will actually do a full design of a Zero Net Energy Home, and earn NESEA's 'Zero Net Energy Homes Professional Certificate'.
Learn From The Best

Marc Rosenbaum is one of the popular speakers in the building industry today. This materials in this course are based on his many years of experience and meticulous practice.

This Course Sells Out

We only offer this course twice a year, and it typically sells out. The only way to reserve your seat is to enroll.

Personalized Feedback

As you work through a series of in-depth design exercises, Marc provides detailed feedback on your work.

Capstone Project

The capstone project for this course is creating a comprehensive zero net energy home plan complete with drawings and energy modeling.

The quality of teaching in your course is amazing, every word choice, how clearly the ideas are outlined, the various calculators are incredible. I'm only on week 2 and I can't believe how much I've learned. I read a ton of blogs, but until you do the math you don't really have any idea of the magnitude of some of these issues - ex. energy use of your car vs. your house, how much heat you can actually get through a window.

- Lucy Foxworth

Thanks for putting together a great course, Marc. I've been studying building science regularly for several years now, and I really appreciate how comprehensive your course is and how well it integrates the material.

- Bruce Dichter, Living Homes, Inc.

For those of you looking for a solid foundation in how buildings work and how to design them well, I cannot recommend Marc's offerings enough.

- Jacob Deva Racusin, New Frameworks Natural Building

Earn Continuing Education Credits

Approved for 25 BPI credits, 10 GBCI credits, 12 AIA CEUs, 6 MA CSL Credits

Your Instructor


Marc Rosenbaum

Director of Engineering, South Mountain Company

Marc Rosenbaum, P.E. uses an integrated systems design approach to help people create buildings and communities which connect us to the natural world, and support both personal and planetary health. He brings this vision, experience and commitment to a collaborative design process, with the goal of profoundly understanding the interconnections between people, place, and...[more]

Course Outline

Minimum Requirements To Complete This Course - Due April 18th

Complete all of these required steps to earn 'Net Zero Energy Homes Certificate'. You'll also earn the enduring respect of your classmates and instructor, and have a portfolio of designs and calculators to show off and use on future projects: 1) Watch 100% of the video presentations 2) Submit 90% of the Homework Assignments 3) Complete Your Final Design Project. Note: We're going to ask you to use Excel!

WELCOME - Orientation Materials

Enrolling in this course gives you access to all of the online course materials immediately. You will receive a welcome packet in the mail with your textbooks within a week. This course is SELF-PACED, so you don’t need to be ‘logged in’ at any specific time. Expect to dedicate an average of 5 hours per week, but you can work ahead or catch up if you fall behind. Keep in mind that I (your instructor Marc) will be there to answer your questions and help you learn for the duration of the course. I will not be on duty outside the course dates, so ask all your questions while we're in session. You will also have access to all of the online materials for a full year.

WEEK 1 - What is a Zero Net Energy Home, Energy, Solar Energy

TOPICS COVERED INCLUDE: Distinctions and definitions, Advances that support widespread implementation. Key components of a ZNEB: Solar orientation, shading, glazing %, Superinsulated building envelope, High R, high SHGC glazing, Airtight construction, Efficient appliances and lighting, Efficient DHW technologies and generation, Heat/energy recovery ventilation, Minisplit heat pumps, ZNE occupants. What is Energy, How Much do Houses Use, Where Does it Go & How Much Energy is in Sunshine?

WEEK 2 - Methods of Heat Transfer & How They Occur in Houses, How to Calculate a House's Heat Loss, Moisture, Vapor Flow, Dewpoint

We'll cover the methods of heat transfer, and learn to calculate the design heat loss of a house. We'll look at moisture transport in buildings, vapor diffusion, dewpoint, and mold.

WEEK 3 - How to Design, Specify & Test the Air Barrier, Thermal Bridges

We'll cover how to design, specify, and test air barriers. We'll look at the concept of thermal bridging and learn how to calculate the true R value of an assembly.

WEEK 4 - Foundation Construction Strategies, Wall Construction Strategies, Roof Construction Strategies

This week we'll look at construction approaches for superinsulated foundations, walls, and roofs.

WEEK 5 - Windows and Glazing, Solar Electric Systems, Lights and Appliances

We'll look at the performance of glazings and windows and the types of windows that are available. We'll cover solar electricity systems and how much energy these systems produce. This week rounds out with a look at efficient lighting and appliances.

WEEK 6 - Heat Recovery Ventilation

This week is all about heat and energy recovery ventilation - the need for ventilation, the basics of system design, what products are available, and the fine points of these systems.

WEEK 7 - Heating and Cooling

We'll cover heating and cooling, showing system approaches for heating, cooling and ventilation together. We'll look at the equipment available for low load homes, focusing on minisplit heat pumps.

WEEK 8 - DHW and Solar Thermal

This week is all about domestic hot water (DHW) - how to calculate loads, how to minimize DHW energy, and equipment available to make DHW efficiently, including a look at heat pump water heaters and solar thermal hot water.

WEEK 9 - Degree Days and Energy Modeling

We'll cover the concept of heating degree days and how to calculate them, then dive into combining what we've learned into an annual energy use model for the house, and sizing the solar electric system to achieve zero net energy.

WEEK 10 - Capstone Project: Design a Zero Energy Home

It's time to put what you've learned into practice. Our capstone assignment is to design a zero net energy home for a residential new construction or retrofit project. There are several case studies as resource guides as you work through your own design.

AFTER THE TRAINING - Tools and Resources for Continued Success

We've covered tremendous ground over the past ten weeks, but you're going to need a life-line for support as you put these ideas into practice - that's what NESEA provides you as a new member. Take a minute to learn about the opportunities available through NESEA, and remember that you'll have access to this the course page and Homework Portal for the next year.