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Green Building
Sustainable Building

Energy Modeling in eQUEST

Chris Schaffner • Last updated 04/2022

4.1/5 (view ratings)
119 students
8 modules
7:35 hours
58 assignments

Course description

This is a comprehensive commercial energy modeling course for you to master eQUEST, the "Quick Energy Simulation Tool" developed by the U.S. Department of Energy and other industry leaders for energy modeling.

eQuest is available at no charge at https://www.doe2.com/equest/. However eQUEST only runs natively on PCs. In order to run the software on a Mac, you'll need to use a virtualization program like Mac parallels.

This course is hands-on. You will learn how to build and run energy models. By the end of the course, you should be able to function as the go-to energy modeler on an integrated design team.

What is eQUEST energy modeling Software?

Imagine a building energy simulation tool comprehensive enough to be useful to ALL design team members, yet so intuitive ANY design team member could use it, in ANY or ALL design phases, including schematic design. eQUEST is well named because it provides something the you’ve been looking for, but have been unable to find … a sophisticated, yet easy-to-use building energy analysis tool. With eQUEST, you’ll be able to provide professional-level results in an affordable level of effort.

eQUEST was designed to allow you to perform detailed analysis of today’s state-of-the-art building design technologies using today’s most sophisticated building energy use simulation techniques but without requiring extensive experience in the "art" of building performance modeling.

eQUEST now has enhanced DOE-2 + Wizards + Graphics. This is accomplished by combining a building creation wizard, an energy efficiency measure (EEM) wizard, and graphical reporting with a simulation "engine" derived from the latest version of DOE-2. Reliable detailed simulation has never been easier!

eQUEST was initially supported as a part of the Energy Design Resources program which was funded by California utility customers and administered by Pacific Gas and Electric Company, San Diego Gas & Electric, and Southern California Edison, under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.

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Continuing Education Units

Approved for: 20 BPI CEUs.

Full course outline

Welcome - Orientation Materials

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.

  • Set up email notifications and your student profile
  • Introduce yourself on the discussion board
Module 1 - Introduction to Energy Modeling

In this opening module we'll download eQuest and make sure all of the settings are locked in for a great course. We'll cover the what / why / when of commercial energy modeling.

  • Welcome from the Instructor
  • Discussion Question #1 - Introductions
  • Download and Install eQUEST (Version 3.65)
  • Introduction to the eQUEST Software (23:49 minutes)
  • Select Your Project Building
  • What is an Energy Model? (22:38 minutes)
  • Fundamentals of Heating and Cooling Loads - Part 1 (21:08 minutes)
  • eQuest Download alternate (.msi)
Module 2 - Setting up Your Energy Model

This week we'll work on importing from Autocad, cover the wizard inputs around the shell and envelope, and get the internal loads right.

  • Goal for Week #2
  • Setting Up Your First Model - Default Building Geometry (.dwg)
  • Other Default Building Info (.pdf)
  • Validation Models vs. Design Assistance (15:07 minutes)
  • Calculating Heating Loads (20:15 minutes)
  • Setting up Your eQUEST Model - Part 1 - Importing from CAD (24:01 minutes) Preview
  • Default Building - First Floor Plan (.pdf)
  • Setting Up Your eQUEST Model - Part 2 - Finishing The Shell (39:44 minutes)
  • Diagram - Modeling Timeline (.pdf)
  • Using TMY3 Weather Files (.pdf)
Module 3 - Determining Mechanical Systems, Running the Model, Viewing the Results

This is when the fun begins. We'll look at preliminary results and begin to interpret them.

  • eQUEST Model - Selecting HVAC System, Results (33:03 minutes)
  • Using Energy Star Target Finder (08:12 minutes)
  • Model Results and Energy Target
  • Basics - Cooling Load calculations (19:02 minutes)
  • How did it go?
  • Error Checking (.jpg)
  • Error checking part 2 (.jpg)
Module 4 - Advanced Energy Modeling - Detailed Edit Mode

This week you'll learn to move beyond wizard mode and make more sophisticated edits to your model.

  • Goal for Week #4
  • Software - Entering Detailed Mode 1 (26:56 minutes)
  • Software part 2 - Tips and tricks in detailed mode (16:03 minutes)
  • Modeling Checklist (.xls)
  • How do you know if your results are correct? (17:18 minutes)
  • Quick Reference - Data Types (.pdf)
  • Table 1.4 (.xls)
  • GBCI QC Calculator (.xlsx)
  • Appendix G language regarding multi-family zoning (.png)
  • HVAC Overview (41:54 minutes)
Module 5 - Using Energy Models as a Design Tool

Energy models are extremely useful in the integrated design process and in determining life cycle costing. This week we'll explore the use of parametric runs as a way to quickly evalulate multiple design options.

  • Goal for Week #5
  • Parametric Models (23:21 minutes)
  • Question about Wall Constructions, and answer. (.docx)
Module 6 - Optimizing the Model + ASHRAE 90.1

Understanding ASHRAE 90.1 quickly becomes important for running scenarios and optimizing your model.

  • Goal for Week #6
  • Heat Recovery (09:51 minutes)
  • Library - ASHRAE 90.1-2007 Baseline Constructions (.inp)
  • Library - Standard ASHRAE Schedules (.inp)
  • Video - Importing the ASHRAE Default Construction Library (21:40 minutes)
  • Basics - Energy Codes (37:55 minutes)
Module 7 - Exploring (and Overcoming) the Limits of eQUEST

There's no such thing as the perfect tool, and there are some things you can't model directly in eQUEST, including underfloor air, chilled beams, and more. You'll learn techniques for incorporating exceptional calculation measures into your model.

  • Goal for Week #7
  • Modeling Less Common HVAC Systems (33:52 minutes)
  • UFAD TDV Resource I (.pdf)
  • Resource - UFAD and TDV II
  • VRF Modeling resources (.zip)
  • DOAS - Step by Step Guide (.pdf)
Module 8 - Capstone Project

You'll submit a full energy model for a commercial building, which will be graded and reviewed. We'll also discuss other software and energy modeling in LEED before sending you off to graduation.

  • Week 8 - Final Capstone Project
  • Response to Question regarding .binm files (.png)
Conclusion - 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


Chris Schaffner

Principal and Founder, The Green Engineer, Inc.

The Green Engineer founder, Chris Schaffner, P.E., LEED Fellow, is a professional mechanical engineer registered in Massachusetts, California, and Vermont. Chris has been a member of the USGBC faculty since 2001, training more than 9,200 building industry professionals in the LEED rating system. He is a member of the USGBC's Curriculum Committee, and is on the Energy... Learn more


25 reviews

119 students have taken this course

by Kathleen Pedersen, Senior Planner/Environmental Reviewer/Sustainability, Boston Plannin... 12/01/2017

Chris was extremely effective instructor both in terms of the presentation of the material as well as his responsiveness to inquiries.

by Brijesh V 08/12/2017

by dan bytner, Cad Designer, Thermolite Inc. 06/13/2017

Great course to get your first lesson on Equest and great overview on heat mechanics and HVAC systems.

by Reginald Smith, Energy Solutions Development Engineer, Johnson Controls, Inc 06/14/2016

I enjoyed being able to work at my own pace while also having the support system and learning environment in place to actually learn the material

by John Poole, Tradesman in Chief, Birmingham Point Preservationists 06/14/2016

"I found this course invaluable in learning how to effectively use eQUEST as an energy modeling tool"

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Frequently asked questions

How does this course work?

You can begin this online course instantly upon enrollment. This 8 module course is delivered entirely online. This course is self-paced 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. During your year of access the instructor will be in the course answering questions on the discussion board. 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 Groups page to get a group discount.

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