About this course

What makes the Standing Column Well (SCW) different and compelling as a geothermal HVAC solution? Students in this course will investigate a number of SCW design applications, and review the key thermal and hydro-geological bases for good performance.

This course will be delivered in two parts: Lecture during module 1 will provide the background and tools students need to complete an entire design exercise on their own for homework. Module 2 will address all questions from module 1, plus all of the tough but important details that determine the success of standing column well systems in the real world. This is a self-paced course - students are not expected to be 'logged in' at any specific time.

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Course outline

3 modules • 24 assignments • 6:30 hours of video lectures

Welcome • 2 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.

  • Meet your instructor, Dr. Al Koenig (03:52 minutes) Preview
  • Resource: Presentation Handouts for 'Standing Column Wells' Training (.pdf)
Module 1 • 6 assignments
Fundamentals of Standing Column Well Geothermal Systems

TOPICS COVERED: A look at what's unique to these systems as opposed to the more common closed loop approach. What's happening in the well as water is circulated between the building and the ground. A progression from cylindrical steady-state heat transfer to transient quasi-steady state implementation. Measurement of thermal conductivity, diffusivity and relaxation characteristics of the well. A look at a SCW installation: drilling techniques, HVAC Hardware, and controls.

  • Lesson 1: Why Open Loop Geothermal Systems? (43:52 minutes)
  • Lesson 2: Understanding Well Bore Dynamics (26:56 minutes) Preview
  • Lesson 3: Well Bore Heat Transfer Made Easy (37:10 minutes)
  • Lesson 4: Important Thermal & Geo-Physics Measurements for Well Field Design (55:14 minutes)
  • Lesson 5: SCW Installation Example (20:58 minutes)
  • READING: 'How Ground/Water Source Heat Pumps Work' (.pdf)
Module 2 • 4 assignments
Design Your Own Standing Column Well System

Students will use lessons from the first half of the course to complete a standing column well design exercise for homework.

  • HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT: Complete this SCW Design Problem (.pdf)
  • Download the ARB Geowell Simulator Excel Spreadsheet (.xlsx)
  • VIDEO SOLUTION: Watch Dr. Koenig solve the homework question using the ARB Geowell Simulator (10:59 minutes)
  • HOMEWORK SOLUTION: Download a PDF of the homework solution (.pdf)
Module 3 • 8 assignments
Advanced Standing Column Well Design Training

TOPICS COVERED: Unlike closed loops, open loop systems require extension into the mechanical room for heat exchange...towards a turnkey system. HVAC system performance hinges on EWT to the heat pumps and parasitic power used to transport heat. Addressing the time dependent elements of load, SCW temperature, heat pump operation and parasitic power over extended periods. What's the payback on the net capital outlay? We'll conclude by considering potential regulatory issues.

  • Lesson 6: The Geothermal Interface to the Building (51:03 minutes)
  • Lesson 7: The building loop and a review of heat pump characteristics (22:24 minutes)
  • Lesson 8: A Look at Geothermal HVAC Seasonal Simulation (25:45 minutes)
  • Lesson 9: The Economics of SCW Geothermal Installations (33:16 minutes)
  • Lesson 10: Challenges to SCW Implementation (28:07 minutes)
  • Supplemental Materials: Some final tips from Al (30:51 minutes)
  • RESOURCE: Harvard Lessons Learned (.pdf) (.pdf)
  • RESOURCE: NYC Geothermal Heat Pump Manual (.pdf)
Conclusion • 4 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

Continuing Education Units

Approved for the following CEUs

  • 7 Professional Development Contact Hours


  • Albert Koenig

    Engineering Consultant
    View profile

    Albert Koenig is a Ph.D. in physics with 35 years of engineering work experience in renewable energy development. He has worked for General Electric Co., Advanced Energy Programs, Chloride Silent Power (UK), Ben Franklin Technology Partners (PA) and American Refining & Biochemical, and along the way started two companies: Silent Power Systems (battery energy... Learn more

Frequently asked questions

How does this course work?
You can begin this online course instantly upon enrollment. This 3 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.


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