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From Control Layers to High-Performance Enclosures

Total Credits: 2 including 2 Minnesota Residential Building Contractor, 2 Minnesota Building Official, 2 Wisconsin Dwelling Contractor

MN Energy Credit |  MN Building Official Credit |  MN Contractor Credit |  WI Contractor Credit
Patrick Huelman
2 Hours
Audio and Video
Access for 180 day(s) after purchase.


High-performance enclosure systems are fundamental to efficient, durable, healthy, and sustainable homes. In this course we will dive into the critical functions and attributes of the four key control layers: thermal, water, air, and vapor. Then using these principles, we will look at leading high-performance enclosure strategies and applications for Zero Energy Ready Homes. The session will highlight robust, efficient, and affordable slab, foundation, and roof assemblies along with case studies of three high-performance wall systems.

Course Outline
  • Making a Case for Robust High-Performance Homes                                 
    • The “five things” that have changed home performance  
    • What is robust and why?
    • Building science fundamentals of heat air and moisture flows
  • It’s All About the Control Layers                                                             
    • Thermal control w/ pen test
    • Water control w/ pen test
    • Air control w/ pen test
    • Vapor control w/ critical questions
  • High-Performance Enclosure Systems                 
    • Modern enclosure conundrum
    • The “perfect wall” 
    • Recommendations for slab, foundation, windows, and roof
  • Wall Case Studies for High-Performance Homes                                        
    •  Extended Plate Wall (EPW)
    •  OptiMN (hybrid) wall
    • Solid Panel Structure (SPS) system

Learner Objectives
  • A review of the building science of heat, air and moisture flows
  • Recognize the key attributes of high-performance homes
  • Understand the critical role of thermal, water, air, and vapor control layers and the important relationships between these layers
  • Be able to identify each control layer on the construction drawings and appreciate the importance of the order or sequence of the layers
  • Recognize the proper application of these layers to slab, foundation, wall, and roof assemblies
  • Gain familiarity with three innovative, robust, high-performance wall systems


"The instructor was very knowledgeable and the topic of energy envelopes and higher performing structures is very relevant (and important!) to any new home or major renovation being done today. Thanks for a great course! I will definitely use this information in my building projects." Scott Stankey, Resonate Homes

"Pat Huelman is a fantastic teacher and a great resource for building science that we are very lucky to have in Minnesota." Nathaniel Tickner, CLT Construction

"I take all of Pat Huelman's courses.  Learn something new each time." Joseph Renze

"This course was excellent and something for a specialty contractor to take interest in." Bruce Lundeen, Bruce Arnold Mechanical

"Good introduction to modern energy efficient new construction techniques. Fulfilled continuing education and also worth the time." Daniel Olson, Balanced Build LLC

Quiz Info

After each hour of the course, you will need to take a 10 question quiz. To pass each quiz, you will need to get a score of 70% or higher.

Credit Info

This course has been approved for two hours of MN residential contractor, remodeler and building official continuing education by the Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry and includes the required Energy credit, and two hours of WI Dwelling Contractor Qualifier by the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services. 

If you are eligible to receive continuing education credits, your information will be electronically reported to the appropriate agency within 3 business days of course completion.

Access Info

Your online course is accessible 24/7. The course will be available to you for 180 days from the purchase date.

Questions and Comments

Questions and comments related to the curriculum for this course may be submitted to the instructor at



Patrick Huelman's Profile

Patrick Huelman Related seminars and products

Associate Extension Professor

University of Minnesota

Pat serves as the Coordinator of the Cold Climate Housing Program with the University of Minnesota Extension. This program is focused on the advancement of performance-built homes through education of the building industry, development and dissemination of information on new technologies and practices, and a critical investigation of housing design and construction innovations. In addition, Pat is Project Manager for the Cloquet Residential Research Facility for hygrothermal testing. He is extremely active in professional education for the home building industry and have been recognized for his “systems approach” to improving overall housing performance, with a focus on energy efficiency, long-term durability, good indoor air quality, and environmental responsibility.