College professors: here’s a curriculum module you can use to introduce students to sustainable design using BuildingGreen articles. Feel free to cherry pick content that fits your syllabus.
Intended for design professionals, BuildingGreen provides an independent “living textbook” that integrates perfectly with sustainable design courses while exposing students to the most cutting-edge sustainability strategies and real-world green building case studies.
Here we offer an Intro to Sustainable Design curriculum especially formulated for institutions that have access to the following articles through a campus-wide BuildingGreen subscription.
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Introduction to Sustainable Design: Syllabus and Assigned Readings
Week 1—Welcome and Introductions
Lecture: Introduction to the green building movement
- Climate Change: Building Industry, You’ve Got This! by Paula Melton
- Progress on 2030 Goals, Ten Years Later by Paula Melton
- Re-Examining Priorities in Green Building by Alex Wilson
- Know Thy Client: 9 Un-Green Strategies for Delivering Better Buildings by Tristan Roberts
- 2017 AIA COTE Top Ten Awards Emphasize Buildings That Teach by James Wilson
Find more articles collected on our topic page, The Big Picture.
Week 2—The Scope of Green Building
Lecture: Whole-systems thinking and integrated design; introduction to LEED and Living Building Challenge
- Three Imperatives to Create the Future of Green Building by Erin Weaver
- New Concepts in LEED v4 by Nadav Malin, Paula Melton, and Tristan Roberts
- LEED v4 Tips from Early Adopters: Earn High Ratings Without Added Costs by Paula Melton and Robert G. Andrews Jr.
- How to Succeed with the Living Building Challenge: 12 Teams Share Tips by Paula Melton and Tristan Roberts
- Integrated Design Meets the Real World by Allyson Wendt and Nadav Malin
- How to Make Integrated Project Delivery Work for Your Project by Candace Pearson
Week 3—Looking Beyond Buildings
Lecture: Green building is about more than buildings.
- Beyond Living Buildings: ILFI Expands Scope to Food Products, Communities by Alex Wilson
- The Problem with Net-Zero Buildings (and the Case for Net-Zero Neighborhoods by Nadav Malin
- Thinking Beyond Buildings: LEED for Neighborhood Development by Allyson Wendt
- New EcoDistricts Protocol Aims for Green Building at Scale by Paula Melton
Find more articles collected on our topic page, Neighborhoods.
Week 4—Land-Use Planning
Lecture: The importance of land-use planning in creating sustainable communities
- Driving to Green Buildings: The Transportation Energy Intensity of Buildings by Alex Wilson
- Huge Carbon Savings from Transit Could Dwarf Building Efficiency by Paula Melton and Tristan Roberts
- Study Shows Homes Save More Energy from Location Than Efficiency by Paula Melton
- How Boston Reduced Its Carbon Footprint by Paula Melton
Find more articles collected on our topic page, Smart Siting.
Week 5—Site and Landscape
Lecture: Integrating buildings into the landscape
- Are Cool Roofs Green? The Answer’s Not Black and White by Candace Pearson
- SITES v2 Rating System and Scorecard; download PDF document free from USGBC.
- SITES v2 for Sustainable Landscapes Aligns with LEED by Beq Lendvay and Paula Melton
- Case Study: Sidwell Friends Middle School, Washington, D.C. by Nadav Malin
Find more articles collected on our topic page, Site Assessment & Design.
Week 6—Water Management on the Site
Lecture: Stormwater and innovative management practices
- Sustainable Sites: Primers from Environmental Building News
- Putting a ‘LID’ on Harmful Stormwater Runoff by Paula Melton
- Stormwater Biofiltration That’s Also Smaller and Cheaper by Paula Melton
- Case Study: Watsonville Water Resources Center, Watsonville, California by Andrea Ward
Week 7—Water Conservation
Lecture: Understanding and conserving what could become the greatest restraint on development
- Net-Zero Water and More: Moving Beyond ‘Low Flow’ by Candace Pearson
- Water Budgets: A Holistic Look at Efficiency by Tristan Roberts
- Waste Water, Want Water by Paula Melton
- What Makes Plumbing Green? BuildingGreen’s Guide to Plumbing Products by Brent Ehrlich and Tristan Roberts
- The Embodied Energy of Tap Water by Paula Melton
Find more articles collected on our topic page, Water Efficiency.
Week 8—Energy Conservation and Efficiency
Lecture: Green building begins with energy savings.
- Cladding: More Than Just a Pretty Façade by Brent Ehrlich
- Energy Modeling: Early and Often by Tristan Roberts
- Passive Solar Heating by Alex Wilson
- Measuring Energy Use in Buildings: Do Our Metrics Really Add Up? by Tristan Roberts
- Why Schools Are Embracing Net-Zero Energy by Candace Pearson
Find more articles collected on our topic page, Energy Efficiency.
Week 9—Renewable Energy
Lecture: After reducing our demand, considering our energy supply
- Solar Farms Offer Renewable Power for the Rest of Us by Brent Ehrlich
- Solar Thermal Hot Water, Heating, and Cooling by Brent Ehrlich
- The Folly of Building-Integrated Wind by Alex Wilson
- How RECs Work—and Why You Might Not Own Your Clean Energy by Kiley Jacques and Paula Melton
Find more articles collected on our topic page, Onsite Energy.
Week 10—Buildings and Health
Lecture: An unhealthy building cannot be a green building.
- The Surprising Connection Between Water Conservation and Deadly Infections by Paula Melton
- Radon and Schools: A Study in Denial by Paula Melton
- The Chemicals on Our Carpets and Textiles by Brent Ehrlich
- A Peek Inside Google’s Healthy Materials Program by Nadav Malin
- Clean, Fresh Air: Getting What We Need by Candace Pearson
- Circadian Rhythm and the Role of Lighting by Candace Pearson
Find more articles collected on our topic page, Design for Health.
Week 11—Buildings and Wellness
Lecture: A healthy indoor environment extends beyond concerns about toxic chemicals and pathogens.
- Programming Buildings for Health: WELL, Fitwel, and Beyond by Paula Melton
- Green Design: What’s Love Got to Do with It? by Paula Melton
- Green Design Strategies Help Survivors of Domestic Violence by Paula Melton
- Healing Gardens Make Hospital Stays a Walk in the Park by Paula Melton
- Sitting Is the New Smoking: Fad or Fact? by Candace Pearson
- Case Study: Structure Tone Headquarters, New York, NY by James Wilson
Find more articles collected on our topic page, Comfort & Productivity.
Week 12—Materials and Resources
Lecture: Understanding the environmental impacts of what goes into our buildings
- What Makes a Product Green?
- Behind the Logos: Understanding Green Product Certifications by Tristan Roberts and Jennifer Atlee
- Whole-Building Life-Cycle Assessment: Taking the Measure of a Green Building by Paula Melton
- The Great Eight: High-Impact Material Choices for Green Building by Brent Ehrlich and Paula Melton
- Product as a Service: Buying the Lumen, Not the Lightbulb by Candace Pearson
- Circular Economy at Scale: Six International Case Studies by Paula Melton and James Darius Ball
Week 13—Material Health
Lecture: Understanding the health impacts of what goes into our buildings
- Take Control of Your Materials: Four Empowering Lessons from Teams That Beat the Red List by Paula Melton
- Building Products and Health: A Look at Risk vs. Hazard by Paula Melton
- Why Chemical Transparency Matters by Tristan Roberts and Paula Melton
- Finding Products for LEED v4: A Guide by Nadav Malin, Paula Melton, Candace Pearson, and Tristan Roberts
- Finding Furniture Without Toxic Flame Retardants by Brent Ehrlich
- VOCs: Why They’re Still Here and What You Can Do About It by Paula Melton
Week 14—Building Durability
Lecture: Longer-lasting buildings are greener buildings.
- The Hidden Science of High-Performance Building Assemblies by Peter Yost and Paula Melton
- Building Enclosure Commissioning: Ensuring Durable and Energy-Efficient Buildings by James Wilson
- Mind the Gaps: Making Existing Buildings More Airtight by Nadav Malin and Peter Yost
- Re-Framing Sustainability: Green Structural Engineering by Paula Melton and Nadav Malin
- Design Strategies for Occupant Engagement—and Why They Boost Performance by Paula Melton and Lindsay Toland
- Raze or Retrofit? Six Extraordinary Answers to an Everyday Question by Paula Melton
- Six Ways Existing Buildings Can Save the Planet by Paula Melton
Week 15—Looking Ahead – Climate Adaptation
Lecture: Today’s buildings must be adaptable to an uncertain future.
- Designing for the Next Century’s Weather by Paula Melton
- Resilient Design: Smarter Building for a Turbulent Future by Alex Wilson
- Resilient Design: 7 Lessons from Early Adopters by Katharine Logan
- The Four Core Issues to Tackle for Resilient Design (And the Programs That Can Help) by Candace Pearson
- 20 Ways to Advance Sustainability in the Next Four Years by Alex Wilson
Find more articles collected on our topic page, Resilient Design.
Week 16 – Wrap-up
Lecture: Course review
- Do You Understand Sustainable Design? Nine Quick Ways to Find Out by Tristan Roberts and James Wilson