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Community and Q&A

Marc Rosenbaum will teach an online course on NZE homes

Martin Holladay | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

Beginning October 1, 2012, energy expert and engineer Marc Rosenbaum will be teaching a 10-week online course on how to design and build net-zero-energy homes.

Marc Rosenbaum is the real deal: an expert who knows what he is talking about. If you’re interested in the topic, you couldn’t find a better teacher.

Sponsored by the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA), the course costs $895 (or $795 if you register early). For more information, see Zero Net Energy Homes.

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  1. Expert Member
    ARMANDO COBO | | #1

    It looks to be a great program and I'm sure Mark will present a fantastic course; however, it would be nice if NESEA can come up with a model to make this course more affordable so it can reach more folks in the industry, and perhaps some homeowners. Would doing a participation survey at different price range help produce the same results but increasing knowledge to many more? I'm sure they would like to educate the industry and public so they can achieve a higher goals. There is a huge difference in pricing a course when you participate in person versus when is taken on line, and I hope they see the distinction.

  2. LucyF | | #2


    Would this be useful for an almost total novice who is going to build a house next year? I have been reading GBA for 2-3 years, subscribe to Fine Homebuilding, JLC, Home Energy trying to learn about this stuff so we can build a Pretty Good House. I figure the cost is pretty reasonable if you think about as having Marc Rosenbaum as kind of a unofficial consultant on the house you are planning. I agree with Armando that the cost for an online course should be less, but still it seems to hold a lot of value for me.

    My question is will the money be wasted because I'm not a builder or an architect, just a very interested and fairly educated novice? (I work in the medical field - pediatrics. My skills at work do not transfer to this field unless one of the workers needs sutures.)

    Thank you. Lucy

  3. Marc Rosenbaum | | #3

    Hello Lucy and Armando
    Thank you for your comments and questions. Lucy, to me the prerequisite for the course is that you know the language of design and construction - so if I say rim joist, rough opening, SIP panel, expanded polystyrene foam - you have the context to know what I mean, or know how to get it on your own. Terms such as dewpoint, permeance, thermal bridges, solar insolation, are more specialized and my job is to define them as we present the material.
    Cost - my aim in this course is different from most - I aim to equip people with the tools and insights to do this work, including some basic Excel sheets to calculate heat loss, solar gain, annual energy usage. I'll have three weeks full time into the preparation of this course, plus the time spent during the course with homework and questions. Obviously i am seeing this from the other end, but I think it's a bargain.
    I'm interested in the idea, BTW, of how to do this with 500 students at a lower price point, but be clear that at that scale there can't be any interaction - no one has that time without it becoming a full time job (which I already have). So propose a model for my consideration, please.
    Finally, back to Lucy, to be clear - online courses like these aim to convey a certain packet of know-how but don't substitute for focused consulting on your particular project. This course is not a shortcut getting a consultant to spend a couple of hours/week responding to questions on a participant's project, there just aren't the time resources available, for one thing, and it's not fair to the teacher or the other students.I hope that doesn't seem unreasonable to you but I can imagine to some it might.

  4. LucyF | | #4


    I appreciate your answer. I think I am fine with the terminology as I have been reading those terms here for the past couple of years.

    I did not mean to imply that I was trying to get a consultant on the cheap though my post certainly sounds that way. We do not have nearly as many people in my area of the south interested in this kind of thing. It is a energy information desert. When I figure R-values in my head, people look at me like I am a genius (3.5 x 5.5 - not really genius math). So to have access, however limited, to people who REALLY know their stuff is very valuable to me. Green Building Advisor has been remarkable in that respect already.

    I hope to be able to take the course and I will be respectful of your time and keep in mind the constraints of an online class.

    Thank you for your reply. Lucy

  5. Marc Rosenbaum | | #5

    That's great, Lucy, so glad you'll be with us.

  6. LucyF | | #6

    Just signed up. Really looking forward to it. Lucy

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