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
- Obama: “Listen to People First” by Paula Melton
- Climate Change: Building Industry, You’ve Got This! by Paula Melton
- Re-Examining Priorities in Green Building by Alex Wilson
- How to Cope—and Even Hope—in an Age of Apparent Doom by Paula Melton
- Learning from the Best: The 2019 COTE Top Ten by Nadav Malin
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 rating systems
- Passive House on Campus: Eight Exemplary Projects by Paula Melton
- How To Run a Great Workshop: 37 Tips and Ideas by Tristan Roberts
- How to Succeed with the Living Building Challenge: 12 Teams Share Tips by Paula Melton and Tristan Roberts
- Affordable Housing and Sustainable Design: The Goals Are Aligned by Nancy Eve Cohen
- LEED and WELL Product Labels: A Guide and Analysis by Paula Melton
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
- Re-Forming the Building Industry: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion by Paula Melton
- EcoDistricts Protocol Aims for Green Building at Scale by Paula Melton
- Centering Equity: The Quest for Justice in Green Building 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 and Paula Melton
- 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
- Pest Prevention: Steps Designers Can Take by Brent Ehrlich
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
- 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.
- Changing Building Design for a Changing Electrical Grid by Ruby Theresa Nahan
- Cladding: More Than Just a Pretty Façade by Brent Ehrlich
- Energy Modeling: Early and Often by Tristan Roberts
- Passive Solar Heating by Alex Wilson
- 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
- Five Reasons to Be Optimistic About Solar Energy by Brent Ehrlich
- 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
- 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.
- How to Access the Full Power of Biophilia by Candace Pearson
- Programming Buildings for Health: WELL, Fitwel, and Beyond 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
- 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
- What’s an HPD? Health Product Declaration FAQs 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
- 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
- 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.
- Focus on Resilient Housing by Nancy Eve Cohen
- Stop Designing for the Past: Your Future Could Depend on It by Paula Melton
- When Hurricane Harvey Hit, the Texas Medical Center Stood Ready by Nancy Eve Cohen
- Resilient Design: Smarter Building for a Turbulent Future by Alex Wilson
- The Four Core Issues to Tackle for Resilient Design (And the Programs That Can Help) by Candace Pearson
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