Inside the Classroom

A behind-the-scenes look at HeatSpring courses and instructors.

Learn in 60 Minutes: Conventional vs. Passive Floor Planning

If you don’t floor plan properly, you will fail.

During this free 60-minute lecture, Mike Duclos, Principal and Founder of DEAP Energy Group and expert instructor at HeatSpring, describes how Passive House floor planning differs from conventional floor planning. Mike provides a background on the Passive House movement, presents examples of Passive House designs and floor plans, and explains why floor planning is critical for energy efficiency, cutting costs, and meeting the rigorous (and non-negotiable) Passive House Space Heating and Primary Energy requirements.

Access the full lecture and archived discussion board here

Thoughtful floor plan design can make the experience of living in the home much more enjoyable, reduce construction costs, and be a substantial asset in ‘making the numbers.’


During this free 60-minute lecture, Mike will teach you:

  • Why orienting the long axis of the home to face South will save you money
  • Why plumbing layout impacts DHW quality of service, Primary Energy use, recovery, and the challenges to optimization and implementation
  • Some not-so-obvious reasons for orienting rooms with respect to the sun
  • Alternatives to the suggestions in the floor plan to adapt the implementation of the ‘physics’ to the aesthetics and desires of your clients
  • How to think ‘outside of the box’ with respect to floor planning

Access the Free Lecture and Archived Discussion Board Today! 

Mike Duclos is a principal and founder of The DEAP Energy Group, LLC, a consultancy providing a wide variety of Deep Energy Retrofit, Zero Net Energy and Passive House related consulting services. Mike was an energy consultant on the Transformations, Inc. Zero Energy Challenge entry, and has worked on a variety of Zero Net Energy, DER and Passive House projects, including two National Grid DER projects which qualified for the ACI Thousand Homes Challenge, Option B, the first National Grid DER to achieve Net Zero Energy operation, and the first EnerPHit certified home in the USA. Mike is a HERS Rater with Mass. New Construction program specializing in Tier III design and certification, a Building Science Certified Infrared Thermographer, a Certified Passive House Consultant responsible for the design and certification of the second Passive House in Massachusetts, holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from UMass Lowell, and has two patents.

Looking to gain solid knowledge and skills for Passive House construction or consulting work? Mike teaches “Passive House Design,” a six-week advanced online course that teaches students how to meet the rigorous (and non-negotiable) Passive House design criteria and make Passive House happen in the real world. Take a free test-drive of the course today. (There course is capped at 50 with 30 discounted seats.)


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‘Commercial Roofing Boot Camp’: A new online workshop from Jim Hoff, ARW Magazine, and HeatSpring

Commercial Roofing Boot Camp

Jim Hoff is the VP of research at the Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing (The Center) and a longtime industry executive. This spring, he’s teaching a ten-week, advanced design course online for 50 professionals.  It’s a details-oriented design course that combines video lessons, reading assignments, and hands-on calculations and homework. Dr. Hoff says: “There’s so much detailed, technical information and skill required in commercial roofing today. It’s exciting for me to put it all together in this one course.”

The “Commercial Roofing Boot Camp,” starting April 2014, is offered in partnership with BNP Media, parent company of Architectural Roofing & Waterproofing and Roofing Contractor magazines. BNP’s CE Campus is an ongoing source of professional continuing education. Group Publisher Jill Bloom says: “ARW has been a trusted source of technical information for decades – this new format allows us to go deeper and get even more technical for those who really want to dig deeper.”

HeatSpring has published and delivered more than 14,000 courses for high performance building professionals. HeatSpring President Brian Hayden says: “I’m proud that we can give everybody in the commercial building industry a chance to learn directly from Jim Hoff. Learning from the best teacher in your industry can change the way you think about yourself and your career.”

About the Course: “Commercial Roofing Boot Camp”

This is a rare opportunity to take a comprehensive commercial roofing course with Dr. James Hoff. In Commercial Roofing Boot Camp, you will learn the key principles of modern roofing as well as the best tools to put these principles into action. In addition, you will practice applying these key principles and tools to every major type of roofing material available today – including the latest in membranes, insulations, and accessories. Finally, you will have the opportunity to complete an individual exercise tailored to your current area of expertise or interest to demonstrate your understanding of key roofing principles and your ability to exercise sound roofing judgment. The goal is to equip students to design state-of-the-art commercial roofing systems. The Capstone Project is a portfolio piece that demonstrates mastery of commercial roofing design.

About Dr. James Hoff

Jim Hoff is an experienced executive and researcher in the building materials industry. He retired as vice president of technology for Firestone Building Products in 2007 after 23 years of service. Dr. Hoff currently serves as Vice President, Research for the Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing in Washington, DC and as President of TEGNOS Research, Inc., a consulting organization dedicated to expanding understanding of the building envelope. Dr. Hoff holds undergraduate degrees in psychology and architectural design as well as a master’s and doctorate in management, and he has published numerous articles on building system performance, quality management, and life cycle analysis.

About BNP Media

BNP Media is a fourth-generation, family-run company with more than 50 publications catering to 11 distinct industry markets. Since 1926, BNP Media has been serving multiple industries with leading business-to-business publications that are a vital information source for businesses both nationally and globally. They are committed to helping industry professionals succeed in business by providing superior information through industry expertise.

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Part Two of John Siegenthaler’s Free Hydronics Lesson: Pipe Expansion

John Siegenthaler is the grandmaster of hydronic heating systems and in our last video, he covered fittings. In this 12 minute segment, John discusses pipe expansion. This is obviously critical information for anyone designing high-performance hydronic systems.

Click here to learn more about John’s ‘Hydronics Master Class’

Click here to review Part One – the free lesson on fittings.

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Leveraging your HeatSpring training using LinkedIn

You know your HeatSpring training is valuable, but how do you share that knowledge with prospective employers, business partners, or potential clients? One easy, effective way is through LinkedIn, the largest professional social network in the world. This video provides step-by-step instructions for maximizing the impact of your HeatSpring training by documenting it on your LinkedIn profile.

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How to Measure the Value of an Online Training Program

There are really only two things that matter when you’re evaluating the quality and value of an online training program:

  1. What tangible skills do you have at the end that you didn’t have at the beginning?  Can you prove that you’ve acquired those skills?  How valuable are those skills within your career and company?  If you can prove that you’ve learned something valuable then it was worth it.
  2. Who have you gotten to know during the class?  The quality of the interaction between the instructor and the students as a group matters because who you know is as important as what you know.  The role of education technology is to make interaction between real human beings more efficient and productive.

Did you notice that production value of the videos didn’t make this list?  Of course high quality is better than low quality, but frequently I see expert instructors get hung up on this issue.  It becomes an impediment to production and prevents some truly great courses from ever getting off the ground.  When it comes to detailed, technical training, people know the good stuff when they see it – they see past the video production tricks to the actual content and don’t want to waste their time with high-class fluff.

Remember the two metrics and evaluate online learning programs accordingly.  Education is going digital, so you’re going to see more and more of them out there – this is my way of helping you to see them for what they are.

If you’re interested in learning more about building online classes, check out free ‘Playbook’ and feel free to send me a note any time.  As you can tell, I have opinions and don’t mind sharing them when it comes to this stuff.

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Solar Executive MBA – Learn How to Model, Price, and Find Investors for Your Commercial Solar Projects

Solar MBA BannerWho’s job is it to understand all of the numbers behind a Commercial or Utility-scale solar project?

That’s somebody else’s job!” replies 99.9% of the people in the solar industry.  We built the Solar Executive MBA for the 0.01% who want to do the hard part.


When you’re at the top of your organization, where do you learn?  Who will check your work to make sure you didn’t mess something up before you sign a contract worth millions of dollars?  In speaking to my friends at financial firms and solar companies – it became apparent that somebody had to create this course.  Modeling and financing huge solar projects requires deep expertise that not many people have.

The Solar Executive MBA is technical, rigorous, and hard. It’s the most intense six-week course you’ll ever find, but also the most valuable. We developed it for leaders who are responsible for the financial details that drive solar projects. The course is taught by two instructors: Keith Cronin, who built and sold his solar installation business to SunEdison in 2007 – and Christopher Lord, a lawyer with deep banking experience who works with solar companies to find viable projects and investors for those projects.

Graduates from the Solar MBA course will learn:

  1. How to quickly run the numbers to value a solar project
  2. How to price the deal to win, without screwing up the project economics
  3. How work with investors to build good relationships that lead to future opportunities. We’ll give you the model to price commercial solar PV projects, and all the legal documents and contracts you will need to finance a project. The Capstone Project for this course means working a deal from start to finish – financial modeling of a full commercial solar project.

About the Instructor: Christopher Lord

christopher lordChristopher J. Lord is a lawyer with deep banking experience and currently the Managing Director of CapIron, Inc., a firm he founded in late 2011, to provide advisory and consulting services to customers, owners, developers, utilities, suppliers, installers and distributors covering the full range of value-add in renewable energy and energy efficiency. CapIron has provided consulting and modeling services for waste-to-energy projects, advisory services to a large-scale distributed generation solar project, consulting and advisory services in the solar thermal industry and early-stage development of a startup wind energy company.

About the Instructor: Keith Cronin

K48-30277-keith-cronineith Cronin is the author of ‘Solar Success Principles’ and is an in-demand business consultant, speaker and founder of The Solar Business Blueprint, a life changing training program that assists business owners with the tools, resources and metrics needed to grow and manage their solar businesses. He has helped solar companies achieve their goals through his training, speeches, coaching sessions and products. Keith’s life changing message reaches people all over the US, Canada, Central and South America. Keith lives in Kailua Hawaii.

Course Outline

  • Development Plan - A Development Plan maps the strategy, budget and timetable of a project. It identifies critical path items, long lead items, and resource needs.
  • Project Economics - In this section, you’ll learn what the three types of capital are, debt, cash equity, and tax equity and their role in financing commercial solar projects. You will learn what tax equity is, how it works, and how it applies to financing projects.
  • Risk Management - Tax equity is not going to go with a project that ‘ought’ to work – this week we will make sure you understand all of the costs and contingencies that should be built into your model. Ready to roll up your sleeves and start digging into the numbers?
  • Financing Strategies - Your sales strategy must be closely linked with your financing strategy. Any lender or investor will do a thorough due diligence review of your project – we’ll cover best practices for starting your own due diligence library to streamline that process.
  • Resource Management - An outgrowth of your Development Plan must be the Resource Management Plan. An important part of the Resource Plan is recognizing what work is best done inside vs. outside.
  • CAPSTONE PROJECT – including Contracts, Legal Docs for Real Projects (You Get a Law Degree Too)

I’m proud to be on the team building this course and working with Christopher and Keith.  Lots of people can model a solar project with 80% confidence.  The Solar Executive MBA prepares you for scenarios when 80% isn’t good enough.  If you need to be 100% confident, then this course is for you.

Click below to register for the course

Solar MBA Banner

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The #1 Most Useful Person to Know in the Geothermal Industry

Ryan Carda bet me that South Dakota State would beat Michigan in the NCAA basketball tournament this year.  He lost.  Ryan’s not a great gambler, but you know what he is great at?  Everything related to geothermal heating and cooling.  In fact, I believe he’s the single most useful person you could ever know in the industry.  Here’s why:

  • He knows the technical stuff inside and out.  If the fact that he wrote the new IGSHPA Design & Installation manual isn’t proof enough, here’s a short lesson from his Certified GeoExchange Designer (CGD) course:

  • He’s an amazing teacher.  In fact, he’s the highest rated instructor we’ve ever had teaching a class on any topic at HeatSpring.  Averages 9.8 out of 10 on his student ratings.  His most popular course is the Geothermal Designer Boot Camp.
  • He’s young and hungry, so you can actually talk to him.  I know a lot of smart people who never return my phone calls.  Look at that picture again – does he look intimidating?  Ryan’s number and email address are on his website and I’ve never heard of anybody having trouble getting in touch.
  • He’s well connected.  Ryan studied under the legendary Chuck Remund, and has gotten to know a ton of people through various lines of business.  He wrote some amazing geothermal design software, sells grout, supports thermal conductivity testing, and teaches all over the country.  This winter he was in Korea supporting some huge geothermal projects.  When I want to find the right person to talk to on a project, I always start with Ryan because he saves me time.

If you’re headed to Vegas, Ryan Carda can’t help you.  If you’re new to the geothermal industry or looking for an experienced partner to work with on a project, I can’t give a stronger recommendation that Ryan is your best bet to start with.  At the end of the day, an ‘industry’ is just a big group of people, and it’s useful to know the best.

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Why Ross Beyeler’s ‘Website Optimization for Solar Companies’ is Guaranteed to Be Awesome

I’d like to introduce the renewable energy industry to my friend, Ross Beyeler.  Since you don’t know Ross, you can’t fully appreciate how awesome his upcoming course, ‘Website Optimization for Solar Companies’ is going to be.  Allow me to make the introduction:

Ross Beyeler is founder and CEO of Growth Spark, a design and development agency with a focus on conversion-optimized web and mobile properties. Since its founding in December 2008, Growth Spark has completed over 200 projects and led Ross to a 2010 nomination as one of BusinessWeek’s Top 25 Entrepreneurs under 25. Before Growth Spark, Ross co-founded For Art’s Sake Media, Inc., a technology company servicing the art industry, which he led through its seed funding and its first product launch.

Ross is younger than I am, but he teaches me something every time we get together.  His employees are cool and I never doubt whether he has the latest information or thinking on websites or marketing.  If I had to boil it down to four things, this is why his course will be great:

  1. Ross is a singular talent.  He’d be good at anything he does – he’s just one of those guys.  It just so happens that he’s chosen to learn as much as he can about website optimization and building websites for companies.
  2. He’s used to working for clients in even more competitive industries.  Almost every great insight I’ve made to improve our business has been learned from someone outside the industry.
  3. Ross is incredibly honest and open.  To me, this is the most important thing I look for in a friend, colleague, and certainly a teacher.  He’ll give you an honest answer to your questions about your website and your marketing programs.
  4. He’ll get into the details – this isn’t a theory course.  The goal of the course is to walk away with specific things that you can do right away.

Thanks for taking the time to get to know Ross.  I hope you’ll also take the time to introduce him your business.

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Why Get NABCEP Certified?

Is getting NABCEP Certified worth it?  It’s the only game in town in the solar industry, but it’s not really required – it’s not a license.  People ask me whether it’s worth it all the time and I don’t really know…is it worth it to go to college?  Peter Thiel doesn’t think so.

Since I’m not certified myself, I asked Chris to explain it to me.  Why did he go for it?

This is part of a longer interview about the NABCEP Exam and what it’s really like to take it.  Most of the interview is included with our NABCEP Prep Course, but I thought this little snippet might be interesting for anybody that’s considering the path to solar certification.

Are you planning to get NABCEP Certified?  Why or why not?

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Get Your NABCEP Online or In-Person? You Don’t Have to Pick.

Solar training isn’t that complicated.  There’s a lot of information we need to transfer from the instructor’s brain into your brain – and everybody learns differently.  Some people love the flexibility and depth of an online course.  Others prefer to take a few days off work and drink from an information fire hose at an in-person workshop.  We think it’s silly to have to pick one or the other.

Starting this month, everyone who takes the online Solar Boot Camp + NABCEP Entry Level Exam or NABCEP Exam Prep Course can also attend an in-person workshop by paying the incremental difference.  So if you’re weighing online vs. in-person, there’s no risk in trying the online course.  If the online experience does the trick, great – if not, you essentially got a free trial and can now just take the class you want.

Here’s an example:

Jim needs his NABCEP Entry Level Certificate ASAP, but there’s no class in his area for three months.  Jim pays $995 for the online class, plows through the material and passes the exam.  Three months later, he pays $500 ($1495 regular price – $995) to attend the in-person workshop.  By the end, he knows this stuff cold.

Make sense?  Sometimes we make things harder than they need to be – we knew it was a good idea because it seemed sort of obvious when we thought of it.  Hopefully this is an example of making life a little simpler and it will make your solar training experience smoother and less disruptive.

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