There has been a lot of hoop-la and craziness around passive homes, net zero energy homes, and super energy efficient homes. I’ve been amazed at how easy it can actually be. My friend is building a house that will burn less then a cord of wood per winter. His building cost? Around $100 to $110 per square foot. Yes, he did do a lot of the work himself. However, if a contractor would do it, the price would still be on par with normal construction.

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Before we talk about building a super insulated home, first you need to understand how to design a super efficient shell. The below 26 minute free video lesson is from Marc Rosenbaum’s 10 week, “Zero Net Energy Design” class, where students learn how to design a zero net energy home in 10 weeks.

Here’s how he did it.

1 – Keep the house small. Less resources, cheaper, and less energy use. At 1600 square feet the house will use about a half of cord of wood be winter. We’re burning mainly maple which is 20 million BTUs per cord. Thus, he’ll burn 10 million BTUs per winter. This averages around 55,000 BTUs per day. Don’t believe me, this house will use the tiniest wood stove he could find.