About this course

Offered in partnership with the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA). This course is designed to prepare students to take the exam to become IGSHPA Certified Residential Geothermal Designer.

The course will use IGSHPA's "Residential and Light Commercial Design and Installation Manual", and is taught by the author. LoopLink RLC, an online geothermal design tool, will be used heavily in the class and the course comes with an unlimited license for the software. Each module, students will have a reading lesson, a homework assignment (usually a design that you have to do on your own), and discussion with the instructor and other students.

FEES NOT INCLUDED: Fees for the IGSHPA test, IGSHPA membership, and CSA standards are not included with this course fee. When you finish the course and want to take the exam, you'll need to pay $350 for the testing fees, 3-year IGSHPA membership, and individual copy of the CSA Standards. These are required by IGSHPA and the fees we collect go directly to IGSHPA.

MANUALS NOT INCLUDED: A full set of IGSHPA manuals is strongly recommended but not required. The manuals cost $225 and are purchased directly through IGSHPA. Having access to these manuals will help you pass the exam.

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Course outline

6 modules • 79 assignments • 6:13 hours of video lectures

Welcome • 13 assignments
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.

  • Introduction to Geothermal Designer Boot Camp (05:09 minutes) Preview
  • Download Slides From Video Lessons (.pdf)
  • Order: IGSHPA's HeatSpring Course Manuals
  • Set up email notifications and your student profile
  • LoopLink Introduction (05:43 minutes)
  • Register for a free LoopLink design software license
  • Introduce yourself on the discussion board
  • Reviewing Fundamental GSHP Concepts (11:31 minutes) Preview
  • Review of Heat Pumps (18:05 minutes) Preview
  • Ground Connection Methods (21:00 minutes) Preview
  • Take your Skills Assessment Quiz 1
  • Optional Reading: 'How Ground/Water Source Heat Pumps Work' (.pdf)
  • Optional Reading from the IGSHPA Manual
Module 1 • 9 assignments
Building Loads, GHP Hot Water Generation Options, Energy Modeling

Working with accurate loads is critical to a solid, cost-effective geothermal design. 'Garbage in, garbage out' is something we've all heard plenty of times - these assignments take the garbage out of your project. It's important to note that this isn't an exhaustive course for calculating building loads (that's a full course on it's own), but we will cover the basics.

  • Learning Objectives for Week 1 (.pdf)
  • Optional Reading
  • Optional Reading
  • Optional Reading
  • OPTIONAL - Download Powerpoint Slides from Week 1 (.pdf)
  • Building Loads, Hot Water Generation Options, Energy Modeling (11:32 minutes)
  • Domestic Hot Water Generating Options (19:28 minutes)
  • Energy Loads and Heat Pump Performance (11:51 minutes)
  • Take your Week 1 Quiz over GSHP Basics
Module 2 • 13 assignments
Understanding Equipment Performance & Equipment Selection Strategies

Selecting the proper equipment is critical to designing cost-effective geothermal systems that work and are easy to maintain.

  • Learning Objectives for Week 2 (.pdf)
  • Optional Reading
  • Optional Reading
  • Optional Reading
  • OPTIONAL - Download Powerpoint Slides from Videos (Part 1) (.pdf)
  • OPTIONAL - Download Powerpoint Slides from Videos (Part 2) (.pdf)
  • Heat Pump Selection (12:39 minutes)
  • GSHP Heating Performance (19:13 minutes)
  • Performance Data for Single Capacity GSHP (29:37 minutes)
  • Performance Data for Dual Capacity GSHP (09:56 minutes)
  • Water-Water GSHP Sizing (11:12 minutes)
  • HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT: GSHP Selection (.pdf)
  • Email your homework to Ryan
Module 3 • 11 assignments
Ground Heat Exchanger (GHEX) Design Basics

This week we lay the foundation for designing closed loop ground heat exchangers.

  • Learning Objectives for Week 3 (.pdf)
  • Optional Reading
  • Optional Reading
  • Optional Reading
  • OPTIONAL: Download Week 3 Powerpoint Slides (.pdf)
  • GHEX Design Basics (16:47 minutes)
  • General GHEX Design Procedure (21:45 minutes)
  • Vertically-Bored GHEX Design (13:39 minutes)
  • Horizontally-Trenched GHEX Design (11:13 minutes)
  • Email your homework to Ryan
Module 4 • 11 assignments
Head Loss Calculations & Interior Piping Design

Now we're getting into real design problems.

  • Learning Objectives for Week 4 (.pdf)
  • Optional Reading
  • Optional Reading
  • OPTIONAL Download Week 4 Powerpoint Slides (.pdf)
  • Interior Piping & Pumping Design (22:56 minutes)
  • Head Loss / Pressure Drop (16:42 minutes)
  • Head Loss Calculation Example (18:48 minutes)
  • Design Tool - Head Loss Calculation Worksheet 1 (.pdf)
  • Design Tool - Head Loss Calculation Worksheet 2 (.pdf)
  • HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT: Perform Head Loss Calculations (.pdf)
  • Email your homework to Ryan
Module 5 • 8 assignments
Interior Load Distribution + Beginning the Final Design Problem

During this week you will begin work on the final design problem. This final design is split into two parts - the video lessons will give you the remaining tools you need to complete this design on your own. This is the last step toward course completion.

  • OPTIONAL - Download Week 5 Powerpoint Slides (.pdf)
  • Interior Load Distribution (17:12 minutes)
  • Water-to-Water Hydronic Applications (13:55 minutes)
  • Supplemental Heat Options (12:10 minutes)
  • Final Exam Part 1 (09:05 minutes) Preview
  • Final Assignment - Multizone GSHP Selection & GHEX Design (.pdf)
  • Final Assignment - Floor Plan (.pdf)
  • Final Assignment - Equipment Schedule (Blank spreadsheet for you to fill out) (.xls)
Module 6 • 9 assignments
Submit Final Design Problem

Final exams are due one week after the last day of the course. They must be submitted on time and be correct to receive a completion certificate. Send Ryan an email when you have completed the design in LoopLink - this is 'official' way to submit the assignment.

  • System Flushing & Purging Pipe Volume (12:24 minutes)
  • OPTIONAL - Download Week 6 Powerpoint Presentation (.pdf)
  • Final Assignment - Final Exam Part 2 (.pdf)
  • Download GeoPro's Head Loss Calculation spreadsheet to complete the final assignment. (.xls)
  • Final Assignment - Record Your Head Loss Volume Calculations Here (.xls)
  • Final Assignment - Interior Piping Schematic (.pdf)
  • Final Assignment - Exterior Piping Schematic (.pdf)
  • Final Assignment - VFD Pump Curves (.pdf)
  • Final Exam Review: Ryan will provide you feedback and let you know what you did well and where you might improve going forward.
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!

  • Ready to take the IGSHPA Exam?
  • 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

  • 20 Professional Development Contact Hours


  • Ryan Carda

    Principal Engineer, Dandelion Energy
    View profile

    Ryan Carda is Principal Engineer for Dandelion. He is primarily responsible for design and engineering standardization, with a focus on optimizing the performance and lowering the cost of geothermal systems. Prior to that, Ryan co-founded Geo-Connections in 2004 and served as the company’s President until he sold the company to Dandelion. The products Ryan developed... Learn more

Frequently asked questions

How does this course work?
You can begin this online course instantly upon enrollment. This 6 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 Teams page to get a group discount.
Does this course help me design geothermal systems for commercial buildings?
Yes. This course will help you design geothermal systems for residential and commercial buildings. The buildings can even be quite large.

The CGD course is used to design geothermal systems for commercial buildings that have complex energy modeling needs. If the building requires an hourly energy analysis to account for variable schedules, then you need to take the CGD course.

This course uses the bin method to do less complicated energy usage calculations based on weather data. This works great for most buildings.


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