2021-2022 Path to Net Zero Energy

Workshop Series

ACAT is thrilled to once again offer the Path to Net Zero Energy workshop series. Net Zero Energy (NZE) buildings are homes and businesses that produce as much energy as they use. The workshop series is about finding your own path to Net Zero Energy with energy efficiency and renewable energy.


October 21, 2021 WEBINAR – Putting Micro Hydropower to Work in Alaska

Hydrologist Dave Brailey spoke about his recently completed Juniper Creek Hydroelectric Project in Eagle River, Alaska. This 300 kW microhydro project came online in July 2021, meeting the electrical needs of the upper Eagle River valley via an interconnection with Matanuska Electric Association. Dave discuss the planning process, permitting, construction and operation of the hydroelectric system, as well as considerations for others interested in developing similar projects. * Webinar can be viewed live or on-demand *Free for ACAT members

3-4PM, November 10, 2021 WEBINAR – Building Envelope Testing in Alaska  

Emmett Leffel presented this workshop looking at airtightness results in new construction. Based on a decade of building envelope testing across Alaska and performing thermal imaging diagnostics, Emmett discussed where the building industry and energy codes needs to take airtightness in the future. He also gave a  review of the airtightness requirements and testing results for each construction type to frame what airtightness is and looks like with IR in the Last Frontier. * Webinar can be viewed live or on-demand *Free to ACAT members



Well-functioning cold climate appropriate wall and heating systems are critical to the comfort and performance of building high efficiency and Net Zero Energy homes in Alaska. Presenters Phil Kaluza and Marquam George have more than 30 years of experience building homes throughout Alaska using various high efficiency techniques. This workshop will cover several examples from Nome, Seward, Anchorage and Juneau of new and retrofitted homes, and include discussion with specific examples of best practices and performance of various wall systems and heating systems including heat pumps and low budget radiant floor systems. POSTPONED UNTIL THIS FALL 


Feb. 28, 2020 Air Sealing for High Performance Homes

Achieving high performance tight homes is a process not a result. Air sealing starts at the framing and is carried through the construction process in careful detailing of air barrier joints following manufacture installation manuals for the different air barrier materials used. This class will cover code requirements vs. high performance home programs requirements and how air sealing is achieved for each level of performance. Resource guides and industry checklists will be reviewed and discussed. MORE DETAILS & PRESENTATIONN

Feb. 7, 2020 High Efficiency Building Techniques for Cold Climates

This all-day workshop included a hands-on site visit to a local home and provide an in-depth look at high efficiency building techniques for new and retrofit construction in cold climates. Presenters Rick and Donald Proven, of Sun Certified Builders Cooperative Limited in Winnipeg, Canada, discussed their techniques including the use of cellulose insulation and Larsen trusses in new build and retrofit design and more. MORE DETAILS & PRESENTATION

Jan. 25, 2019 Commissioning High Efficiency & Net Zero Energy Homes

Instructor Emmett Leffel gave an in-depth review on what needs to be and what can be commissioned in a residential home. Systems covered included domestic hot water, heating systems, ventilation systems, and the air barrier systems. He also focused on advanced levels of commissioning based on higher level energy efficient standards where system performance is critical. Additionally discussed were more complex strategies targeted at available technology such as thermal imaging, building diagnostics, and testing and balancing along with methods of measuring performance such as monitoring of indoor air quality and electrical usage monitoring to identifying specific conditions and issues effecting performance, comfort and the health of a home. The instructor’s resources were pulled from multiple auditing disciplines from his years as a BEES Energy Rater, LEED Green Rater, Air Barrier Auditor and BPI Building Analyst in the State of Alaska and encourage audience members to ask questions and share examples. MORE DETAILS & PRESENTATION

Dec. 7, 2018 Net Zero Building for the Arctic

Architect Klaus Mayer discussed his proposal for a Net Zero Energy multi-generational house intended for Arctic villages. The house incorporates communal design elements such as a shared kitchen and common space that recognizes family members desire to share and interact with each other as well as an outside entry for storage of subsistence foods. For energy savings and waste reduction, urine-diverting dry toilets, a rainwater collection system and low energy appliances are utilized. The home also uniquely incorporates building blocks made from mushrooms (fungal mycelium) as a potential local low cost, eco-friendly solution to traditional building materials. site. The idea of using mycelium (the white vegetative strands that form the root of mushrooms) to replace insulation and other products is being explored across the country. This project relies on work done by University of Alaska Anchorage professor Philippe Amstislavski, who is currently testing a slab of mycelium insulation at the Cold Climate Housing Research Center in Fairbanks. The mycelium can be grown in various shapes and is inert and non-toxic. When removed and exposed to elements, it naturally decomposes. MORE DETAILS & PRESENTATION

May 4, 2018 Project Modeling with 3D Software

 Sketchup is one of several available 3D modeling software programs that allow contractors, architects and individuals to visualize their projects, to test and analyze them for energy efficiency and to help develop the details. With this program, you can create animated walk throughs, and see how changes affect the overall design. This one-day, hands-on workshop, led by Bettisworth North designer Corey DiRutigliano, covered the basics of how to use this modelling software to increase the energy efficiency of designs and guide you through how to use the Sketchup program for your own projects. 

April 20, 2018 Indoor Air Quality & Ventilation

Indoor Air Quality is important from the start to finish of construction, whether you are going for a Net Zero Energy building or simply moving toward Net Zero. This workshop covered the 8 principals of indoor air quality in new and existing construction looking at contaminants, construction product selection, ventilation systems and maintenance necessary on new and existing homes. Emmett’s background in testing and diagnosing ventilation, combustion systems and building envelopes and special training as a Healthy Home Evaluator allows him a unique perspective on healthy homes in the State of Alaska. MORE DETAILS & PRESENTATION

Feb. 24, 2018 Navigating Your Path to Net Zero Energy

A Net Zero Energy home produces as much energy as it uses on an annual basis. This workshop offered attendees expert personal help with their own project to analyze, and assess how to make your home more energy efficient and closer to Net Zero Energy.

November 4, 2017 Getting to Zero Energy: Zeroing Your Electric Bill

Electricity use is a substantial portion of our energy use and cost in our homes. Architect and energy auditor Jason Collins covered how to zero out your electric bill. This included looking at ways to reduce loads with lighting, appliances, and heating as well as offsetting power use with solar power. MORE DETAILS & PRESENTATION

May 6, 2017 Heat Pumps for Alaska Webinar

Heat pumps, which efficiently heat homes using electricity, are an option Alaskan contractors builders, businesses and homeowners should know about. In Maine, more than 17,000 heat pumps have been installed in the past 3 years saving homeowners thousands of dollars in heating costs in locations down to minus 15 degrees. This workshop covered Maine’s experience including installation, economics, and operation of this well-established, technology from people currently using heat pumps in Alaska. MORE DETAILS & PRESENTATION

March 24, 2017 Brewing up Zero Energy Homes in Alaska

Fairbanks Mayor Karl Kassel and Bruno Grunau, of the Cold Climate Housing Research Center, talked about their Fairbanks homes which have a fraction of the energy bills of a typical home. They discussed the building costs, building techniques, and what they have seen in savings on their electric and heating bills as well as the additional comfort they have experienced from living in a Net Zero Energy and Zero Energy Ready home.  MORE DETAILS & PRESENTATION

Oct. 15, 2016 How to Zero Your Electric Bill

Long time Palmer-based Architect Jason Collins, a certified Energy Auditor and a USGBC LEED Accredited Professional, provided a step-by-step overview on how to reduce your electric bill starting with lighting and plug loads and down to appliances  and heating. He used his own house as an example which he took from an average of 26kwh/day down to 3kwh/day, saving the homeowners about $1,500 a year. He also discussed factors to consider for offsetting your electrical use with solar power. MORE DETAILS & PRESENTATION

May 6, 2016 Commercial LED Lighting for Alaska

indexLED_deletesoonThank you to Dave Inman for a terrific workshop on Commercial LED Lighting. This workshop was geared toward installers, commercial and industrial building owners and government officials interested in the options, pitfalls, and potential cost savings from various LED lighting options. MORE DETAILS & PRESENTATION

Feb. 26, 2016 and April 23, 2016 Solar Works in Alaska
This workshop covers the costs, installation, and the technical, site and safety issues to consider and evaluate in setting up your solar electric power system. Learn from presenters who have installed systems and from real data on payback and performance of other on-grid and off-grid systems up and running in Alaska. MORE

May 2, 2015: Navigating Your Path to Net Zero Energy

This hands-on workshop with architect Jason Collins was a chance to get expert personal help with the details of your own building projects. This is a repeating class.

Feb. 20 & 21,2015: Heating & Ventilation Systems for NZE Homes

Come learn about Net Zero homes and Passive House construction, focusing on the heating and ventilation of ultra efficient buildings in cold climates. We will be discussing the necessary types of heating systems for these buildings, focusing on Heat Pump technology, Masonry Heaters, Solar Thermal and Heat Storage. In addition we will be discussing proper ways to ensure healthy Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), with the use of a new generation of HRV/ERV technologies. MORE

Jan. 23 & 24, 2015: Building a Net Zero Energy Home in Southcentral Alaska

This workshop covered benchmarks and design elements of NZE homes, focusing on details appropriate to homes in Southcentral Alaska. MORE

November 21 & 22, 2014: Intro to Net Zero for Cold Climates

Net Zero Energy (NZE) homes are a growing market nationwide with hundreds of NZE homes being built every year, and contractors now offering an NZE option for their customers. Attendees learned more about this emerging market nationwide as well as heard case studies of projects in Alaska and got an overview of some of the basic design and construction strategies for Alaska for achieving very low and/or net zero energy (NZE) use in both new construction and retrofit projects. MORE

April 25 & 26, 2014: Getting to Net Zero Effectively in Production & Custom Homes

Net Zero Energy homes produce as much energy as they use. Massachusetts-based Net Zero Energy builder R. Carter Scott and his company Transformations, Inc. have been featured in Fine HomeBuilding Magazine and Solar Today for their work building Net Zero Energy communities that produce as much energy as they use. Join us for this workshop with Carter to hear what he has done and cover the basics of “Getting to Zero Energy” in a cold climate for builders and homeowners.

March 28, 2014: Zero Energy Building – Affordability and Future in Home Construction

Peter Amerongen, President of Habitat Studio and Workshop, Ltd. and one of Canada’s Leading Green Builders, presented on Net Zero Building from design to affordability in this 2-hour webinar targeted at professional home builders and those interested in Net Zero building. MORE

Feb. 22, 2014: How To Wrap It Up with REMOTE WALLS – Comfortable & Cozy in Your Super Insulated Home

Energy Consultant Margaret Subers gave this hands-on workshop on REMOTE Wall Systems at Mat-Su College.

Jan 10 & 11, 2014 “Building a Happy Home: Comfortable, Efficient & Affordable”

Certified Passive House consultant & Anchorage homeowner Matt Oster discussed the details of how he created a more comfortable energy efficient home and reduced his heating costs by 83%. MORE INFO

Nov. 1-2, 2013: Practical Solutions for Building Net Zero Energy in Alaska

Fairbanks builder Thorsten Chlupp & Passive House expert Prudence Ferreira offered a wealth of information and experience  looking at Net Zero Energy building in Alaska, including homes Thorsten has built in Fairbanks. MORE INFO

Oct. 19, 2013: Navigating Your Path to Net Zero Energy

Thanks to Jason Collins for leading us through a comprehensive exercise on navigating a path to Net Zero Energy on our own project, whether it be a retrofit or new construction.  We will be offering this workshop again in the future. If you missed it and want to be notified when it’s offered again, email Stephanie at sjnowers@mtaonline.net

Sept. 27 & 28, 2013: Intro to AHFC’s 6-Star Rating

This was a great workshop. Many thanks to Scott Waterman, with Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC), who presented details on a significant addition to the Alaska building energy rating system – the new 6-star energy rating. Here are some links with additonal information.

Energy_Use_PublicFacilities Report (2012)
This report gives an in-depth picture of the energy use of public buildings in Alaska. By looking at comprehensive energy audits of 327 out of an estimated 5,000 public facilities, researchers found that the average building can save $25,000 per year on energy just by modest investments in efficiency.

See details and Powerpoints from past presentations on our archive pages here.

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