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Green Building
Building Science
Sustainable Building

To Electrify or Not to Electrify - Self Study

Robb Aldrich and 1 other • Last updated 02/2021

4.5/5 (view ratings)
295 students
1 module
1:37 hours
4 assignments

Course description

This course was originally presented at BuildingEnergy Boston 2020, a conference presented by the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA)

Should we be trying to electrify everything? Is it practical for existing and new buildings with the technologies we have now? Two engineers with different takes on these questions will debate electrifying residential buildings, from small single-family to high-rise apartments. Both speakers have years of experience with heat pump technologies (mini-splits, PTHPs, water-source HPs, VRF, and several types of heat-pump water heaters). They’ll present examples of buildings where these systems worked wonderfully, where performance was less than ideal, and a few absolute failures. Too often, building professionals – designers, engineers, contractors, building owners/operators, utilities, and even manufacturers – don’t fully understand how these new systems work. Come learn from others’ mistakes, understand how these systems can be used well, and consider: Are there buildings where electrification doesn’t yet make sense?

Professional credits (or CEUs, "continuing education units") are not available at this time; check back later for options to earn credits.

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Learning Objectives

Participants in this course will upon completion of this course, be able to:

  • • Select heating & cooling equipment of the right size and type to meet comfort and efficiency goals
  • • List the most common pitfalls of heat pump water heaters
  • • Describe the impact of refrigerant on water heater performance
  • • Weigh climate impacts along with practical implications of electric heat and hot water systems

Full course outline

Module 1 - To Electrify or Not to Electrify

  • To Electrify or Not to Electrify (01:37:28 hours)
  • OPTIONAL: Subscribe to NESEA Communications


Robb Aldrich

Principal Mechanical Engineer, Steven Winter Associates

Robb joined Steven Winter Associates in 2000 where he has researched new technologies, monitored performance of building systems, and worked with builders and developers across the country to create better, healthier, more efficient homes. He holds a Master’s degree in Building Systems Engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder. Robb first became interested... Learn more

Nicole Ceci

Steven Winter Associates, Inc., Principal Mechanical Engineer

As a principal engineer in the Multifamily Group at Steven Winter Associates, Nicole Ceci assists clients to meet energy savings goals in New York, New Jersey, Washington DC, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Her building science experience includes design and implementation of high-performance HVAC systems and data analysis of building performance. Since joining SWA,... Learn more


38 reviews

295 students have taken this course

by Hamza B 04/14/2022

by Peter N 04/06/2022

by Shawn van Hoek-Patterson 01/03/2021

Thought provoking synopsis on the state of electrification for heating from two different perspectives: single family and commercial/multi-family units.

by Stephen Funnell, Home Owner 01/02/2021

I would recommend this course to anyone who is planning on doing any sort of renovation. This is especially true of anyone who will be doing whole home renovations.

by Joanne Coons 01/02/2021

Excellent overview of ashp availability, building owners hesitancy to adoption and discussion about refrigerants. Low hanging fruit solutions were also discussed which is always a good starting point. Thank you for sharing your expertise.

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Frequently asked questions

How does this course work?

This is a free course. Enroll today and get access to all of the materials instantly. The lecture video and other materials are available any time.

How long do I have access to the materials?

For free courses there is no guarantee for how long the course materials will be available.

Is there a certificate of completion?

Certificates of completion are only provided to HeatSpring Membership subscribers. This course has not been approved by any credentialing organizations (NABCEP, AIA, USGBC etc) for Continuing Education Credits (CEUs). This course is for self education purposes only and completion does not indicate a level of professional expertise or credential.

Can I register multiple people?

Yes, this is a free course so you can share this page with other people from your group.

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