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Practices for Sustainable Architecture

  1. Course Number

  2. Classes Start

  3. Classes End

    Jun 15, 2020


Course Orientation Introduction

Course Introduction


Standards and Metrics Part 1: Living Building Challenge, Passivhaus, and More

Overview of Rating Systems

The Living Building Challenge

The Passivehaus Rating System

Other Metrics and Standards

Standards and Metrics Part 2: LEED v4

LEED Basics

LEED v4 Locations and Linkages

LEED v4 Sustainable Sites

LEED v4 Water Efficiency

LEED v4 Energy and Atmosphere

LEED v4 Materials and Resources

LEED v4 Indoor Air Quality

LEED v4 Innovation & Regional Priority

Integrated Project Delivery


Integrated Project Delivery

Integrated Design Charrettes

Additional Sustainable Design Behaviors

Green Construction


Construction Operations

Site Work & Foundations

The Building Envelope

Interior Finishes

Mechanical Systems

Electrical and Plumbing

Equipment and Landscape





Eco-Villages and Co-Housing

The Future of Sustainable Design







Final Project and Green Associate Preparation

Final Exam

About This Course

This course will begin with a brief review of the context, motivations, frameworks, and principles necessary to put sustainable design into practice. Students will be exposed to the rationale, organization and specifics of a range of rating systems including LEED®, Passivhaus, Living Building Challenge and more. The Integrated Project Delivery will be explored in detail with a special emphasis on collaborative design practices as a means to achieve ambitious sustainable design projects in a tough economic context. Green construction practices will follow with a focus on the specific knowledge and techniques needed to build and operate a highly functioning green buildings. The course then jumps scale to study the practices needed to green cities including eco-districts, eco-villages and more. Then the future of sustainable design practice is studied through the concepts of biophilia, biomimicry and more. Finally, students will receive a Green Associate Preparation session and final exam. It is recommended but not required that students complete the companion course: Principles for Sustainable Design prior to taking this course

Course Structure

Week 1. Standards and Metrics for Green Buildings: Understanding the rationale and structure of rating systems and an in-depth look at the LEED® Rating Systems.

Week 2. Standards and Metrics for Energy Efficient and Sustainable buildings: In this module the Following systems will be covered: The Passivhaus System, The Living Building Challenge, Architecture 2030 and more.

Week 3. Integrated Project Delivery: This module features a close look at emerging processes necessary to obtain highly rated green and sustainable projects. New forms of project management, digital collaboration and design will be covered.

Week 4. Green Construction and Technologies: In this module students will follow the construction of a green building starting with green specifications, moving onto the building envelope, to building systems and finally to interior finishes and landscape. The LEED® Rating System for Building Design and Construction will be tied into the process.

Week 5. Eco-Cities: In this module students will study the global context for urbanization and then focus on specific practices used to green cities including Eco-districts, eco-villages and carbon neutral cities.

Week 6. Future of Sustainable Design: In this module biophilia, urbiphilia, biomimicry, and ephemerization will be explored as new ways for humanity to co-evolve with the natural world.

Week 7. Final Exam and Green Associate Prep: In this module students will complete a final exam for the course as well as receive preparation for the Green Associate Exam. Green associate is an entry level accreditation offered by the Green Building Certification Institute for professionals who plan to work in the green building industry and who plan to take the LEED® AP Exam.

Learning Objectives

At end of this course students will be able to:

- Analyze the origins and founding principles of sustainability

- Synthesize the competing motivations of empathy and self-interest to build a foundation for a new sustainable world view

- Combine the cultural, ecological, economic and experiential forces into holistic frameworks for sustainability

- Analyze the state of the world’s energy and environmental systems and value the critical role of built environment professionals in responding to that challenge

- Discover the essential role of benchmarks, standards and rating systems in focusing successful sustainable design processes and effective documentation of built projects

- Identify the critical methodologies used to achieve high levels of sustainability in the design and construction of the built environment including: Integrated project delivery; Integrated design charrettes; Building simulation; Life cycle analysis; BIM; and Green construction practices

- Recognize the range of planning principles associated with eco-cities, eco-districts, eco-villages, and landscape ecologies

- Identify emerging design influences including biophilia, biomimicry, urbiphilia (love of cities), de-materialization, and resilience




You be offered a paid certificate by the Philadelphia University and Build Academy after you complete all the course assignments and exams: basic certificate and the certificate with CEU (Continuing Education Units). The Philadelphia University will not issue academic credits for this course. Please contact Prof. Fleming to learn more about how to gain university credits.


Course Staff

Course Staff Image #1

Prof. Rob Fleming, LEED AP

Rob Fleming is a registered architect with over 18 years’ experience of teaching, research and practice in sustainable design. He is the co-creator and Director of the award winning Master of Science in Sustainable Design Program at Philadelphia University. Rob is the author of Design Education for a Sustainable Future, a book focused on transforming design education in the 21st century. Rob is a Sustainability Fellow at Re:Vision Architecture in Philadelphia where he consults and facilitates integrated design charrettes.