Geothermal Standing Column Well Design - Self Study


Author: Albert Koenig

Subjects: Renewable HVAC: Geothermal

Length: 3 modules

Student Rating

9.6 out of 10 (view ratings)
114 students have taken 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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Preview the Course Material

Check out a free preview of the course by clicking the button below. This is a live assignment from the course and will give you a good sense for what the course will be like.

Free Preview - Meet your instructor, Dr. Al Koenig
Learn from the Best

Dr. Al Koenig, former 'Engineer of the Year' at General Electric.

Flexible Online Training for Industry Professionals

This is a self-study, self-paced online course. You can begin instantly upon enrollment and complete the course materials at your own pace.

Access Information and Build Your Training Library

After enrolling, the course materials will remain in your account and be accessible 12 months (1 year) after enrollment. Access can be extended beyond 1 year with a monthly membership. 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.

Earn A Certificate of Completion

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.

Get Real Data About How Standing Column Well Systems Are Designed and How They Really Perform

Use that data to design your own standing column well system using HeatSpring's design workbook You get access to a Standing Column Well simulator and model performance of the system you design

Earn Continuing Education Credits

Approved for: 7 Professional Development Contact Hours.


Albert Koenig

Engineering Consultant

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...[more]

Free Preview - Meet your instructor, Dr. Al Koenig

Course Outline

Welcome - 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.

  • Introduction to HeatSpring (Video - 01:25 minutes) Preview
  • Meet your instructor, Dr. Al Koenig (Video - 03:52 minutes) Preview
  • Resource: Presentation Handouts for 'Standing Column Wells' Training (Download .pdf)
Module 1 - 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? (Video - 43:52 minutes)
  • Lesson 2: Understanding Well Bore Dynamics (Video - 26:56 minutes) Preview
  • Lesson 3: Well Bore Heat Transfer Made Easy (Video - 37:10 minutes)
  • Lesson 4: Important Thermal & Geo-Physics Measurements for Well Field Design (Video - 55:14 minutes)
  • Lesson 5: SCW Installation Example (Video - 20:58 minutes)
  • READING: 'How Ground/Water Source Heat Pumps Work' (Download .pdf)
Module 2 - 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 (Download .pdf)
  • Download the ARB Geowell Simulator Excel Spreadsheet (Download .xlsx)
  • VIDEO SOLUTION: Watch Dr. Koenig solve the homework question using the ARB Geowell Simulator (Video - 10:59 minutes)
  • HOMEWORK SOLUTION: Download a PDF of the homework solution (Download .pdf)
Module 3 - 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 (Video - 51:03 minutes)
  • Lesson 7: The building loop and a review of heat pump characteristics (Video - 22:24 minutes)
  • Lesson 8: A Look at Geothermal HVAC Seasonal Simulation (Video - 25:45 minutes)
  • Lesson 9: The Economics of SCW Geothermal Installations (Video - 33:16 minutes)
  • Lesson 10: Challenges to SCW Implementation (Video - 28:07 minutes)
  • Supplemental Materials: Some final tips from Al (Video - 30:51 minutes)
  • RESOURCE: Harvard Lessons Learned (.pdf) (Download .pdf)
  • RESOURCE: NYC Geothermal Heat Pump Manual (.pdf) (Resource)
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 (Text)
  • Feedback: 2-minute Exit Survey (Survey)
  • Consider Joining as a HeatSpring Member (Resource)
  • Certificate of Completion: Request a Certificate (Certificate)
Free Preview - Meet your instructor, Dr. Al Koenig

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