About this online course


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Learn how to get to a net zero energy use of an existing building.

Reduction of energy consumption of buildings is an important step in the move towards a sustainable economy. How can buildings be made net zero energy, in different climates?

This course introduces you to zero energy design. It will teach you a stepped approach to design a zero energy climate concept for existing buildings: homes, schools, offices, shops etc. It will demonstrate how an integrated approach, which takes into account both passive measures (such as thermal insulation and sun shading) and active measures (such as heat pumps and photovoltaic panels), can deliver the best results.

It will do so by providing you with an overview of possible measures, and through reviewing several case studies of zero energy buildings in the Netherlands, with lessons for other climates as well. Thus, you will learn which measures are most suitable for individual buildings under local climate conditions.

This course is for anyone interested in making buildings more energy efficient, who already possess basic technical knowledge.

You will learn to:

  • Analyse the energy use of a building
  • Analyse the local climate and select appropriate measures
  • Develop an integrated net-zero-energy concept for the building
  • Apply a stepped approach to find energy reducing measure


Andy van den Dobbelsteen, Eric van den Ham and Tess Blom (Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment) are the winners of the 2020 edX Prize for Exceptional Contributions in Online Teaching and Learning, with their online course "Zero-Energy Design: an approach to make your building sustainable". Their MOOC is designed to help participants figure out which energy measures can be applied to make their buildings (more) sustainable and zero-energy consuming.

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"In line with our mission to support engineers world-wide in gaining new competencies, our foundation contributed to the development of the TU Delft MOOC Zero Energy Design. We are convinced that this course offers new skills to engineers and helps to find solutions for one of the world's grand challenges." - Dutch Foundation PATO


Course Syllabus

Week 1 Energy in the built environment
Introduction to Zero Energy Design
Analyse the energy consumption of a selected building

Week 2 REDUCE: Passive measures
Analyse the local climate and choose passive measures to reduce the energy demand, like thermal insulation and sun shading.

Week 3 REDUCE: Active measures
Overview of active measures to reduce the energy demand, like demand-controlled heating and ventilation.

Week 4 REUSE
Overview of the opportunities to reuse energy flows in buildings, like heat recovery from ventilation air and warm waste water

Overview of the opportunities to produce heat and electricity in the building, like PV-systems, ground source heat pumps.

Apply all the measures from the previous weeks in an integrated net zero energy concept for the selected building

Week 7 Wrap up


Unless otherwise specified, the Course Materials of this course are Copyright Delft University of Technology and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


This is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) that runs on edX.


Bachelor Technical Study 1st year

  • Starts: Anytime (Self-Paced)
  • Free | Earn certificate for $139
  • Group fee: contact us
  • Length: Self-Paced
  • Effort: 4 - 6 hours per week / 7 weeks

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