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The Keys to a Net Zero Energy Home

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

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


For high-performance, net zero energy homes, it is critical to get the building enclosure and mechanical systems right. While renewable energy can be added or acquired later, it is not as easy to change the overall efficiency of the building enclosure or HVAC system. It is critical to identify cost-effective approaches to get the loads low and efficiencies high. The last segment of this session will explore specific design and technologies strategies that I would select for a Net Zero energy Home today. It all comes down to systems optimization—not spending too much in one area or too little in another—with the goal of keeping the cost of a renewable energy system more accessible and affordable today and in the future.

Course Outline
  • Intro to the Power of Zero
  • Pathways to High-Performance Homes
  • Comparing MN Code, Energy Star, ZERH, BCP, NZE

                - Enclosures

                - Mechanicals

                - Other (DHW, IAQ)

  • DOE Zero Energy Ready Home

- Business Case

- Technical Case

- Program Specifications

  • Zero Energy Homes Today                                                                                                   

- Key Challenges

- Current Successes

  • Then & Know

                - General Design

                - Building Enclosure

                - Mechanical Systems

                - Renewables

  • Wrap up w/ Q&A

Learner Objectives
  • Familiarity with the concepts and definitions for high-performance, net zero homes
  • Recognize important building science principles and approaches for robust high-performance homes
  • Be able to apply these principles to building enclosure designs and construction
  • Be able to apply these principles to mechanical system strategies and designs
  • Recognize key building technology and equipment to achieve net zero energy
  • Exposure to high-performance enclosure technologies and mechanical systems for this market


"Good intro to building more energy efficient and comfortable homes. The course was well setup and I got through it without any technical issues." Frank Grazzini, Posterity Homes

"This course describes the paths that we should be taking over and above the paths that we are required to take." Tom Barthelemy, Studio 513

Quiz Info

After each hour of the course, you will need to take a 10 question quiz. To pass the 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 twohours 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 7 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 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

Patrick is an associate professor in Residential Energy and Building Systems with the University of Minnesota’s Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering and serves as coordinator of the Cold Climate Housing Program with the University of Minnesota Extension. He is a lead faculty member for the Residential Building Science and Technology undergraduate degree program and a principal investigator for hydrothermal testing at the Cloquet Residential Research Facility. Currently, Pat is the project lead for NorthernSTAR, one of the Department of Energy’s Building America teams.

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