Zero Net Energy Homes


Length: 10 weeks

Instructor: Marc Rosenbaum

Partner: NESEA: BuildingEnergy Masters Series

Subjects: Zero Net Energy Homes

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"After five courses and over 200 participants, I’m convinced self-paced, asynchronous online learning is the way to master and apply new skills and knowledge." —Marc Rosenbaum

This is a 10-week online course taught by Marc Rosenbaum, one of the most popular and best-reviewed speakers at NESEA's BuildingEnergy 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 for a full ten-week semester, ask him questions, and get specific feedback on your own capstone project. You'll learn key pitfalls to avoid and get numerical guidelines on sizing peak heat loss, glazing amounts, and solar electric systems. You will walk away with a comprehensive understanding of all of the key components of a zero net energy home—envelope, systems, and renewable energy sources—and how they fit together that will empower you to confidently create your own designs. Successful students will complete a full design for a zero net energy home, including an energy model, and earn NESEA's 'Zero Net Energy Homes Professional Certificate'.

Want to talk to a live person? Contact Miriam Aylward at NESEA: (413) 774-6051 ext. 14.
Learn From An Expert

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

Limited Seating

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. Marc provides individual feedback on each submission.

Ayuda En Español

Este curso está en inglés. Pero si entiendes el inglés bastante bien y solamente necesitas un poco de ayuda, podemos ayudarte por correo electrónico (o por teléfono si puedes llamar a los Estado Unidos) con traducción básica, comprensión, u otras cosas. Si tienes más preguntas sobre este servicio, manda un mensaje a

Earn Continuing Education Credits

Approved for 25 BPI credits, 10 GBCI credits (CE Hours for LEED Professionals), 12 PHIUS CPHC CEUs, 12 AIA LU/HSW Credits, 6 MA CSL Credits, P.E. professional development hours

This was one of the best learning endeavors with which I have been involved. The very complete building science content helped me better understand the concepts I thought I understood or was lacking altogether and reinforced those concepts I did understand. The discussion board format works better than a classroom setting, giving all the time to think and give relevant feedback, ask questions, and see all responses. We all get to look over the shoulders of classmates to see their work. I have been extremely impressed at the efforts of my classmates and strived to do my best in turn. Marc Rosenbaum is a natural educator. His feedback is always constructive, encouraging, thoughtful, and he adds whimsy and humor in the appropriate quantities. I highly recommend this course to anyone who values energy efficiency in buildings.

- Jamie Fereday, Sol Coast Consulting and Design

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

Thank you so much, Marc, for all your feedback. Your class has been awesome and exceedingly informative.

- Meghan Lyman, A3 Architects

Designing the capstone project, getting it to the point where there are effective performance numbers and dimensioned drawings that allow for material take-offs for pricing, has been a fantastic learning experience.

- Daniel Haedrich, Back Tilt Studio

This is an outstanding class, bringing an enormous amount of material into an organized series of learning modules.

- Tim Van Meter, Van Meter Williams Pollack, LLP

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]

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Course Outline

WELCOME - Orientation Materials

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 the instructor will be there to answer your questions and help you learn for the duration of the course. The instructor will only be available to answer questions during the posted session dates, so ask all your questions while we're in session. You will have access to all of the online materials for a full year. Contact Tom McCormack, your Student Advocate, if you have questions before or after the posted session dates. Please review the orientation materials and introduce yourself on the discussion board.

Minimum Requirements To Complete This Course

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!


In this module, you will view an introduction to the course from instructor Marc Rosenbaum and to NESEA's BuildingEnergy Masters Series from Jennifer Marrapese. Then, you will download the slides for all the video lectures, familiarize yourself with Dropbox, and starting thinking about the capstone project you'll submit at the end of the course.

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

Topics for this week 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

In this module you can complete your exit survey, join the alumni LinkedIn group, learn about NESEA's annual conference, and request a certificate of completion and continuing education credits.

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