Learn the basics of design and construction for Zero-Energy Building (ZEB) and Near ZEB for new construction & existing homes and buildings. These "green" buildings not only reduce our carbon footprint by saving energy, but are also extremely comfortable, quiet, healthy, and affordable when planned correctly. Participants will gain an understand of what it means to set ZEB Energy Use Goals for projects, how to plan for achieving ZEB goals without reducing function, and how to achieve ZEB construction at the lowest cost.

This course will cover the fundamental subjects for achieving ZEB, including principles of life safety, fundamentals for healthy homes, principles of heat loss/gain, principles of insulation performance, principles of pressure plane integrity (air-leakage control), and the use of modeling tools and methods for determining paths to success. Discussions will include: functionality and durability; construction assembly choices that impact efficiency and cost; how design layout impacts HVAC systems' cost and plumbing costs; solar gain impact on buildings' inside living spaces; bulk water management; moisture management; fresh air management; and how capital investment will eliminate annual expenses to achieve a "return on investment" that is a net or positive cash flow from day one.

Course start time: Saturday, 9am
Course end time: Sunday, 5pm


"I have 20 years of experience in construction and was able to come to this class and learn even more than I expected."


  • Competency Level: All Levels
  • Sterling College credits: 1 Continuing Education Unit ($130 additional)
  • Vermont Technical College credits: 1 College Credit ($60 additional)
  • AIA credits: 14 HSW Learning Units

Course Outline

Current state of residential design
Future energy opportunities and limitations
Choosing a pathway to the future
Lessons learned from the first generation of super insulated and net zero homes
Existing buildings

  • Where does the heat go?
  • Energy saving priorities

Super Insulation

  • Goals
  • Benefits

Insulation types and performance

  • Earth based
  • Fiber
  • Wood
  • Glass
  • Plastic

Heat transfer and installed performance

  • Conduction: R-Value
  • Gaps and voids
  • Thermal bridging
  • Convection
  • Radiation and comfort
  • Air leakage paths and air sealing
  • Blower door and air barriers

Vapor barriers and moisture movement

Roof ventilation, ice damming and unvented roof assemblies
Sound control and fire resistance
New Construction

  • Design factors
  • Framing, corner and header details
    • Advanced framing
    • Staggered walls
    • Strapped walls
    • Double walls
    • Larson truss walls
    • Internal and exterior foam sheathing
  • Selecting windows
    •  Orientation and window types
  • Foundation types and insulation
  • Roof insulation details
  • Lighting and appliances
  • Ventilation systems
  • Heating systems and loads
  • Super insulation costs and payback
  • Common construction blunders

Synopsis for Designing/Building a Super Insulated - NET Zero Energy Building/Home

  • No additional cost over constructing to meet code and operating the building/home.
  • Building Health & Durability Concerns Review.
  • Construction Detail Presentation - Specifications/Instructions/Plan Sections
  • Ready to build.           

**Note:   Guest Speakers -

A previous attendee to this class and his wife, Peter & Cyrie Lange, will be our guest speakers, as part of the class "wrap-up" on Sunday.  We have asked them to share highlights of their experiences in learning how to, then building their home, and what it is like for them to live in their Super Insulated - Z.E.B. Ready Home (Zero Energy Building Ready Home). 


Start Date: July 30, 2016
Duration: 2 Days
Tuition: $350