12 Steps to Affordable Zero Energy Design & Construction

Zero energy homes (ZEHs) are a big part of the future of the home building business.  While the materials and equipment to reach zero energy are available, designers and builders must create a bundle of energy-efficiency features that matches their climate, customers, and business constraints.  This 7-hour class lays out numerous elements of zero energy design and construction, so that building professionals can formulate a package appropriate for their situation. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.  Students in this class will learn design principles, equipment options, emerging technologies, material selections, and construction practices that can be integrated into their building process. Strong emphasis is placed on ways to make the final product affordable for homebuyers.  Sales and marketing ideas are also presented.

It’s generally accepted that improvements to the thermal envelope are fundamental.  These include high levels of insulation, reduction of thermal bridges and advanced air sealing.  However, significant efficiency improvements in heating and cooling equipment and the rapid drop in the cost of rooftop solar electric systems offer new options for cost-effective efficiency packages.  There have never been so many ZEH options to choose from.  This course gives building professionals the knowledge to build ZEHs that are affordable, durable, safe, healthy, energy efficient, and comfortable to live in.

The material is organized into 12 easy steps:

  1. Start with Smart Design
  2. Orient for Sun Tempering
  3. Optimize with Energy Modeling
  4. Super-seal the Envelope
  5. Super-insulate the Envelope
  6. Select Optimum Window Efficiency
  7. Ensure Clean, Fresh Air
  8. Specify High-performance Heating and Cooling
  9. Heat Water Wisely
  10. Select High-Efficiency Lighting
  11. Choose Efficient Appliances
  12. Use Renewable Energy

Each step describes the most recent developments with a strong emphasis on affordability.  Other topics include: housing market drivers, ways to assess and communicate economic benefits, along with marketing and sales concepts for zero energy homes.

Learning Objectives

As a result of attending this class, participants will be able to:

  • Identify factors that are driving the U.S. housing market toward zero energy homes.
  • Name barriers to the widespread adoption of zero energy homes.
  • Describe three ways to present the financial benefits of zero energy homes.
  • List six affordable zero energy features that you can incorporate into your practice.
  • Create a marketing and sales messages that your company can use to promote zero energy homes.