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The Keys to a Net Zero Energy Home

Total Credits: 2

MN Energy Credit |  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

"Nice refresher of the topic with great relevance to issues seen today." Linda Klebe, Classic Construction, Inc.

"This is a great course for exploring the benefits as well as the complexities of building Net Zero Homes." Nicholas Jorgenson, Aarhus Builders

Quiz Info

In order to receive continuing education credit(s), you will need to take a 10-question quiz after each hour of the course. To pass each quiz, you will need to achieve a score of 70% or higher. If you are unsuccessful, you will have an opportunity to repeat the quiz. Once you have successfully completed the course, you can download your continuing education certificate(s) showing the credit(s) that you have earned.

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 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 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.