About this course

"What is an Energy Model?"

In this free course, Chris Schaffner describes a variety of methods for modeling building energy consumption. He starts with simple energy estimating tools of increasing complexity, finally arriving at detailed energy simulations.

A few simple methods are described, and spreadsheets (listed below) built to use these methods are provided. The specific requirements of energy simulations are discussed, and the course concludes with a case study demonstrating the power of parametric energy simulations as a design tool.

Two excel documents included:
- Simplified Heat Recovery Calculator
- Simplified Ground Source Heat Pump Calculator

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Learning Objectives

  • Understand some of the reasons we use energy models
  • Identify the key elements of an energy model
  • Differentiate between energy simulations and other types of models
  • Name different modeling and simulation software tools

Course outline

2 modules • 5 assignments • 37 minutes of video lectures

Module 1 • 3 assignments
Watch the "What is an Energy Model?" Lecture

  • Lecture (37:11 minutes)
  • Simplified Ground Source Heat Pump calculator (.xls)
  • Simplified Heat Recovery Calculator (.xls)


  • Chris Schaffner

    Principal and Founder, The Green Engineer, Inc.
    View profile

    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

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.


Based on 180 reviews
students have taken this course


Engr. Hussain Ahmed

This is a very helpful course to teach students to understand an energy model.

Justin Berger

Awesome course full of informative content and useful tools.

Caleb Champion

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