Course: Move Toward A Net Zero Energy Building

David Bolt, Sustainable Future's founder and nZEB course instructor, holding a utility bill with a $3,500 credit in 2012.
David Bolt, Sustainable Future’s founder and nZEB course instructor, holding a utility bill with a $3,500 credit in 2012.

A net zero energy building (nZEB) is one that creates the same amount of energy in a year that it requires to operate. I converted my home to a net zero energy building in 2006 and my office building in 2011. In fact, my office creates more energy than it uses and supplies the local power grid. In 2014 the Knoxville Utility Board sent me a check for almost $8,000.

By taking this course you will be able to decide how close to net zero you would like to be based on your resources and willingness to adjust your lifestyle. You might even want to go past net Zero and create more energy than you use. Almost everyone can easily make a 10% reduction in energy consumption. Even 30% reductions are doable for many people and can result in saving hundreds of dollars a year. Getting all the way to nZEB requires more commitment in the form of money and/or lifestyle changes.

The value of taking this class is that I can share many personal experiences on achieving nZEB, going beyond nZEB, and the lifestyle changes you can make toward net zero. The course will provide a series of exercises that will help you create your own nZEB plan. If you want to build a new home or do some energy retrofit work this is a great course to take with your building contractor.

Class 1: Introduction To Net Zero Energy Building
Date: Saturday, March 14 – 10:30-noon

This is a high level, introductory class. We will go over what nZEB is and strategies  to get there.  There will be an optional tour of Sustainable Future after the class where you can see the systems that make the building a net generator of energy. You can also see some of the work that was done to reduce energy demands.

Class 2: Reductions
Date: Saturday, March 28 – 10:30-noon

This class will focus on understanding your electric/gas bill and where you can improve efficiency and find major areas of energy reductions for your house or building. We will also look at some of the tools you can use to measure energy consumption and energy waste.

Class 3: Renewable Energy: Focusing On Solar Electric
Date: Saturday, April 4 – 10:30-noon

This class will introduce a number of renewable energy technologies. Most of the time will be spent on practical considerations for implementing different types solar electric system.

Class 4: Plan Presentations & Recommendations
Date: Saturday, April 11- 10:30-noon

A course’s main value comes in putting new information into action and this last class will give participants a chance to talk about their plans to move toward net zero. Participants will have the opportunity to interact with the instructor and other participants. We will also decide if and when we want to do follow up gatherings to celebrate success and trouble shoot obstacles. It is my hope that this course will lead to a vibrant community of people learning from each other and sharing their journey toward achieving net zero.

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Sustainable Future Headquarters
201 Ogle Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37920