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Learn the relevance of green architecture.

Sustainable Design class teaches students how to develop sustainable designs and construction plans for healthy buildings, land use planning and site development.

In the course, students will learn what sustainability means to construction, what are the major components of sustainable structures, how sustainable structures are rated as sustainable, and what it means to the environment, economics, and the triple bottom line to create a sustainable structure. Students will learn relevant information on sustainability metrics, programs, industry terminology and how to evaluate and discuss sustainability interdependencies as they relate to the construction and design processes.

Sustainability is an evolving field which is increasingly in the news.  As defined by the Brundtland Commission, a sustainable process is one which is “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.”  As construction increases, so does the impact on the earth.  Resources implemented now diminish availability of future resources and demolition waste impacts the planet through the filling of landfills.    Understanding the measurements tools in sustainability, vocabulary, important topics, and critical interdependencies in design and construction is an important component of success for sustainable outcomes in projects.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Learn how to objectively evaluate the evolving field of sustainability in design and construction
  • Learn decision making tools to evaluate sustainability options in practice
  • Understand “systems level thinking,” life cycle assessment, use of triple bottom line, and rating systems utilized in construction and design of sustainable buildings and infrastructure
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the implementation of sustainable practices in site, building systems, and facility operations
Course Topics:
  • Discussion of the definition of sustainability in design and construction
  • Analysis of systems thinking processes, energy / water consumption statistics, life cycle assessment and other “sustainable metrics”
  • Define decision making processes for healthy buildings, land use planning and site development
  • Discussion of roles of stakeholders in sustainability objectives
  • Identify current sustainable technologies, highlighting the challenges and opportunities of emerging practices.
  • Explore real-world sustainable practice through project examples and case studies
  • Broaden our horizons in sustainability through understanding different rating systems utilized in industry


Course Typically Offered: Online in every summer and winter quarter.

Prerequisite:  3 years of experince in construction industry or equivalent knowledge and experience or junior standing in college level. MS Windows / MS Office Suite including Excel

Next Step: After completing this course, consider earning your LEED Certification. To continue learning consider taking EE-40196 

Certifications in sustainability exist within different organizations including the USGBC (LEED GA), ISI (ENVISION ENV SP), and others. Students will learn valuable, introductory skills in this course to build a foundation for these certifications if desired.

Course Number: EE-40197
Credit: 3.00 unit(s)