About this course

Learn how to best 'fix what you have'. If you are serious about transformative energy upgrades in existing residential and commercial buildings up to 45,000 square feet this course is right for you.

Forget the theory. This course will fundamentally change the way you approach retrofit projects, while build your network of like minded professionals. Your practice will never be the same.

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Learning Objectives

  • How to assess if a house is a good candidate for a DER
  • How energy is used in most houses, and how DERs change that
  • Typical deficiencies of existing homes and how a DER addresses them
  • Heat flow, moisture flow, vapor retarders, and how to perform a simple heat loss calculation
  • Building blocks of a DER—air tightening, foundations, walls, windows, roofs—and the range of approaches that have been successful
  • Heating, cooling, ventilation, and domestic hot water technologies
  • Case studies of successful DERs

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Course outline

10 modules • 144 assignments • 13:50 hours of video lectures

Welcome • 1 assignments
Orientation Materials

This is a self-study on demand course. This course is self-paced, so you don’t need to be logged in at any specific time. You can get started immediately after you enroll and the course materials will remain in your account with minimum guaranteed access for 12 months (1 year) after enrollment.

  • A note about this course - self serve
Module 1 • 15 assignments
Introduction to Deep Energy Retrofits

Topics: Benefits, Costs, What makes a good DER?, Where energy goes in houses

  • Introduction to the Deep Energy Retrofits Course (10:02 minutes) Preview
  • Course Textbook - Mass Save Deep Energy Retrofit Builder Guide
  • READING - DER Guide pgs. 8-11
  • DERs - An Introduction (15:01 minutes) Preview
  • Energy (19:36 minutes)
  • RESOURCE - Thousand Home Challenge website
  • RESOURCE - New Mexico Solar Energy Association Primer (.pdf)
  • RESOURCE - Thousand Home Challenge Priorities Worksheet (.xls)
  • Livermore Case Study (32:17 minutes)
  • Marc's Intro to DERs (.pdf)
  • DERs - An Introduction PDF (.pdf)
  • Energy DER PDF (.pdf)
  • Livermore Case Study PDF (.pdf)
  • Take the quiz for this week and earn a passing score
  • David White's GWP of Insulation Calculator (.xls)
Module 2 • 19 assignments
Deficiencies of existing houses and how a DER can help

Topics: Water, Ice dams, Toxic materials, Mold, Combustion products, Discomfort, Pests

  • READING - DER Guide pgs 12-13
  • Deficiencies and Remediation (28:21 minutes) Preview
  • READING - EPA Healthy Indoor Environment Protocols for Home Energy Upgrades pgs 1-25 (.pdf)
  • RESOURCE - Jeff May Ten Tips on Mold
  • RESOURCE - EPA Moisture Control Guide
  • RESOURCE - Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings
  • RESOURCE - BSI-056 Leiningen vs. The Ants
  • RESOURCE - CDC - Cleaning Up After Rodents
  • RESOURCE - Rodent-proof Construction and Exclusion Methods
  • RESOURCE - EPA lead web site
  • RESOURCE - EPA Asbestos web site
  • RESOURCE - EPA Radon web site
  • RESOURCE - EPA Build Radon Out Guide (.pdf)
  • RESOURCE - Joe Lstiburek on Ice Dams
  • RESOURCE - EPA Guide to Mold and Moisture (.pdf)
  • Plainfield School Case Study (40:01 minutes)
  • Deficiencies and remediation PDF (.pdf)
  • Plainfield School Case Study PDF (.pdf)
  • Take the quiz for this week and earn a passing score
Module 3 • 19 assignments
Building Science

Topics: Energy, heat transfer, moisture, Heat loss calculations, Vapor retarders

  • READING - DER Guide pgs. 31-41; 227-232
  • Heat Transfer (19:59) (19:59 minutes)
  • Calculating Heat Loss (27:00) (26:32 minutes)
  • Moisture (38:24 minutes)
  • READING - Understanding Drainage Planes
  • READING - Understanding Vapor Barriers
  • RESOURCE - Marc's Heat Loss Calculator (.xls)
  • HOMEWORK - Heat Loss Calculation (.xls)
  • RESOURCE - BSD-011 Thermal Control In Buildings
  • RESOURCE - Materials Properties Table
  • RESOURCE - BSD-013 Rain Control In Buildings
  • Bindley Case Study (27:23 minutes)
  • Heat transfer PDF (.pdf)
  • Calculating Heat Loss PDF (.pdf)
  • Moisture PDF (.pdf)
  • Bindley Case Study PDF (.pdf)
  • Thermal Bridge Calculator
  • Take the quiz for this week and earn a passing score
Module 4 • 16 assignments
Air Barriers

Topics: Where houses leak, Approaches to air tightening, exterior and interior, Testing and diagnostics

  • READING - DER Guide pgs. 31-41
  • Air Barriers (20:30 minutes)
  • Specifying and Testing Air Tightness (13:42 minutes)
  • Thermal Bridges (13:55 minutes)
  • READING - BSD-104 Understanding Air Barriers
  • RESOURCE - Marc's Thermal Bridge Calculator (.xls)
  • HOMEWORK - Calculate Assembly R Values
  • RESOURCE - A Bridge Too Far
  • Kurkoski Case Study (20:45 minutes)
  • Air Barriers DER PDF (.pdf)
  • Specifying and testing air tightness PDF (.pdf)
  • Thermal bridges PDF (.pdf)
  • A Fun Thermal Bridge Occurrence
  • Kurkoski Case Study PDF (.pdf)
  • Take the quiz for this week and earn a passing score
Module 5 • 11 assignments
Foundation Approaches

Topics: Basements and crawl spaces, Slab on grade

  • READING - DER Guide pgs. 58-70; 143-156
  • Foundations (31:48 minutes)
  • Understanding and Calculating Building Heat Loss to the Ground (01:00:36 hours)
  • READING - BSD-103 Understanding Basements
  • RESOURCE - BSI-041 Rubble Foundations
  • RESOURCE - BSI-045 Double Rubble Toil and Trouble
  • Debevoise Hall Case Study (22:25 minutes)
  • Foundations PDF (.pdf)
  • Heat loss to the ground PDF (.pdf)
  • Debevoise Hall Case Study PDF (.pdf)
  • Take the quiz for this week and earn a passing score
Module 6 • 13 assignments
Wall Approaches

Topics: Frame walls, Masonry walls, Interior and exterior strategies

  • READING - DER Guide pgs. 54-57; 111-142; 158-162
  • Frame Walls 1 (18:00 minutes)
  • Frame Walls 2 (14:42 minutes)
  • Masonry Walls (22:34 minutes)
  • RESOURCE - Impact of Insulation
  • RESOURCE - Spray Foam Resources
  • RESOURCE - RR-1105 Internal Insulation of Masonry Walls
  • Union Mill Case Study (06:41 minutes)
  • Frame Walls 1 DER PDF (.pdf)
  • Frame Walls 2 DER PDF (.pdf)
  • Masonry Walls DER PDF (.pdf)
  • Union Mill Case Study PDF (.pdf)
  • Take the quiz for this week and earn a passing score
Module 7 • 9 assignments

Topics: New windows, Storm windows, Window insulation, Installation

  • READING - DER Guide pgs. 163-187
  • Windows (38:54 minutes)
  • READING - Panflashing for Exterior Wall Openings
  • RESOURCE - Window Basics
  • RESOURCE - Cardinal Glass Low-e Specifications
  • Martha's Vineyard Cottage Case Study (15:45 minutes)
  • Windows DER PDF (.pdf)
  • MV Cottage Case Study PDF (.pdf)
  • Take the quiz for this week and earn a passing score
Module 8 • 9 assignments
Roofs and Ceilings

Topics: Vented attics, Cathedralized roof

  • READING - DER Guide pgs. 45-53; 77-109
  • Attics and Roofs (24:55 minutes)
  • READING - BSD-149 Unvented Roofs For All Climates
  • RESOURCE - BA-1006 High R Value Roofs
  • RESOURCE - Lstiburek's Rules For Venting Roofs
  • Union Square Case Study (15:31 minutes)
  • Attics and roofs DER PDF (.pdf)
  • Union Square Case Study PDF (.pdf)
  • Take the quiz for this week and earn a passing score
Module 9 • 15 assignments

Topics: Selecting a system, Minisplit heat pumps, Heat pump water heaters

  • READING - DER Guide pgs. 14-30
  • Ventilation Systems (26:40 minutes)
  • Heat and DHW Systems (29:37 minutes)
  • The Ins and Outs of Selecting Cold Climate Minisplit Heat Pumps (34:24 minutes)
  • READING - Heat and Energy Recovery Ventilators
  • RESOURCE - Review of Residential Ventilation Technologies
  • RESOURCE - BSC Residential Ventilation Standard
  • RESOURCE - HVI Directory of Ventilation Equipment
  • RESOURCE - NEEP Cold Climate Heat Pump Specification
  • RESOURCE - Gary Klein Efficient Distribution of Hot Water
  • RESOURCE - Heat Pump Water Heaters Come of Age
  • Island Cohousing Case Study (44:40 minutes)
  • Mechanical systems DER PDF (.pdf)
  • Island Coho Case Study PDF (.pdf)
  • Take the quiz for this week and earn a passing score
Module 10 • 12 assignments
Successful Deep Energy Retrofit Case Studies

This week we'll review case studies of successful DERs.

  • READING - Ten Steps to Deep Energy Reductions (.pdf)
  • Lights Appliances Monitoring (28:51 minutes)
  • RESOURCE - Introduction to the Thousand Home Challenge (.pdf)
  • RESOURCE - Energy Star Appliances
  • RESOURCE - Lighting Research Center
  • RESOURCE - Bill McKibben New Yorker Article
  • Rosenbaum Case Study Part 1 (26:24 minutes)
  • Rosenbaum Case Study Part 2 (40:51 minutes)
  • Lights Appliances Monitoring PV PDF (.pdf)
  • Rosenbaum 1 Case Study PDF (.pdf)
  • Rosenbaum 2 Case Study PDF (.pdf)
  • Take the quiz for this week and earn a passing score
Conclusion • 5 assignments
Feedback and Additional Resources

This is our last module but you still have access to the all of course materials for 12 months (1 year), so keep working and you'll be able to complete the course at your own pace. After your year of access expires you can optionally extend access with a HeatSpring Membership. Enjoy the course and keep in touch!

  • 1 Year of Access to Course Materials
  • Feedback: 2-minute Exit Survey
  • Consider Joining as a HeatSpring Member
  • Certificate of Completion: Request a Certificate
  • Reporting Form for PHIUS CEUs

Continuing Education Units

Approved for the following CEUs

  • 13.5 PHIUS CPHC CEUs
  • 12 Professional Development Contact Hours


  • Marc Rosenbaum

    Principal, Energysmiths
    View profile

    Marc Rosenbaum, P.E. uses an integrated systems design approach to help people create buildings and communities which connect us to the natural world, and support both personal and planetary health. He brings this vision, experience and commitment to a collaborative design process, with the goal of profoundly understanding the interconnections between people, place, and... Learn more

Frequently asked questions

How does this course work?
You can begin this online course instantly upon enrollment. This 10 module course is delivered entirely online. This is a self-study, self-paced course and you can set your own schedule to complete the materials. You can begin the lecture videos and other course materials as soon as you enroll. After successfully completing the course, you will be able to generate a certificate of completion.
How long do I have access to the materials?
Students get unlimited access to the course materials as soon as they enroll and for one year (365 days) after enrollment. Rewatch videos and review assignments as many times as you want. View updates the instructor makes to the course as the industry advances. Return to your course anytime with online access from anywhere in the world. After the one year of access expires, access can be extended by joining as a HeatSpring member. A single membership extends access to course materials for all past enrollments.
Is there a certificate of completion?
Yes, when you complete this course you are eligible for a certificate of completion from HeatSpring. You can download your certificate as soon as you have completed all of the course requirements. Students can easily share their verified certificates on their LinkedIn profiles using our LinkedIn integration.
Can I register multiple people?
Yes please visit our HeatSpring for Teams page to get a group discount.


Based on 45 reviews
students have taken this course

As a none engineer this course filled in a lot of blanks for when I build my little home.

Darrell Moorehead

If you would like to thoroughly understand and internalize the process and knowledge required to tackle the complexities of creating Deep Energy Retrofits, take this course! Marc knows his stuff!

Donovan Netherland
Managing Member, Tread Light Construction

Marc Rosenbaum uses his in-depth knowledge and experience in Deep Energy Retrofits to present a wealth of information in a manner that is easy to digest. Anyone interested in making a home or building more livable and energy efficient should benefit greatly from this course.

Roger Gutzwiller
Owner, Acquire

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