Building knowledge and connections

Continuing Education

Sustainable Design Courses

The courses below contain varying levels of sustainable design information.

Click here for information on the AEC Daily Sustainability Rating System.

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  • Pigments serve many functions in paint other than supplying the color. Characteristics such as durability, hide, gloss, lightfastness, and paint film thickness are influenced by the choice of pigment. This course will discuss the ways your choice of color can significantly change the appearance and performance of architectural paint.

  • The surface coating is the first line of defense in prepainted metal, and one of the most important elements to consider as part of a metal purchase. Selecting the right coating, finish, and paint system can affect product lifespan, energy efficiency, and aesthetic appeal. This course discusses the composition of prepainted metal, its application, and performance, and examines the building and environmental factors that may influence the type of paint system specified.

    Prerequisites: None

    Course Level: Introductory

  • Railing systems perform various functions, meeting safety requirements and serving as a key component of a building’s aesthetic. This course includes a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of aluminum and structural vinyl railing systems, how they are made, and how they are used in the building industry, including a detailed summary of how they meet various code requirements.

     This course is part of one or more "Course Collections". Click to view details.

  • All decking products designed for exterior use and under constant exposure to the elements will eventually show some signs of degradation; however, vinyl decking can be used to prolong the life cycle of various building products. This course examines walkable roof deck membranes and roofing systems and includes discussions on system characteristics, design considerations, and how to properly specify roof deck membrane systems. This program will be beneficial to architects, specifiers, and contractors involved in single- and multiple-family home construction.

    Prerequisites: No

    Course Level: Introductory

  • Moisture infiltration through a building envelope can cause widespread damage to building elements and construction materials. In some cases, it can threaten or destroy a building’s structural integrity. The components of today’s waterproofing systems for floors and walls above- and below-grade, or plaza decks are designed to work together to provide tight, durable, and complete protection not just against water, but all other environmental contaminants. This course discusses the fundamentals of waterproofing design, the types of materials used, and the considerations for selecting a waterproofing system to meet the requirements of a building project.

  • Quartz surfacing is a man-made material consisting of up to 93% natural quartz crystal. In this course, you will discover the other components behind the beauty, durability, and flexibility of this surfacing material. You will see the composition, production, and quality assurance processes that go into making the material and the resultant attributes and capabilities, as well as the installation basics of quartz surfacing materials.

  • A comprehensive lighting plan is critical to the success of any residential design project. Proper lighting is effective and efficient and contributes to the comfort and functionality of the home. This course explores lighting concepts, sources, and controls. It discusses using layers of light to achieve design goals, and how to incorporate energy efficiency into lighting designs.

  • Synthetic (artificial) grass or turf has improved steadily since its first installation half a century ago, and it is now a sophisticated surfacing system that can be customized to suit specific purposes. This course reviews that development and then focuses on the specifics of synthetic grass suitable for use on playgrounds. This focus includes a detailed examination of its construction, installation, and maintenance, and a number of sample installations.

  • Fireplaces remain one of the main focal points of a home. No longer used only for heating or cooking, and coupled with advances in technology and fuel options, fireplaces have evolved into an architectural component of the designed living space. Modern gas fireplaces offer an environmentally friendly heating solution with high efficiency ratings and contemporary designs that don’t sacrifice form for function. This course offers an overview of contemporary fireplace styles, options, venting, and installation, with a focus on cool wall technology and how it allows electronics and other design elements to be safely mounted over a fireplace.

  • Building science experts have acknowledged the need for both drainage and ventilation in exterior wall systems in order to eliminate moisture issues and extend the life of buildings. This presentation reviews the concepts of rainscreen technology and the solutions for rainscreen compliance with a focus on engineered rainscreen drainage and ventilation mats used in direct applied and ventilated wall designs.

  • Recently, custom showers have grown in popularity, offering homeowners an escape from the stresses of the outside world with new options providing the same sense of relaxation that was previously reserved for the bathtub. This course covers the trends in shower design, the benefits of hydrotherapy, and the components and technologies that are available to create a spa-like shower experience for today’s homeowners.

  • The inherent properties of concrete masonry, including strength, durability, and fire safety, have been well documented, though a perception of high cost persists. However, due to significant changes to codes and standards that have increased the flexibility of concrete masonry systems, these systems offer cost-effective solutions. This course reviews changes to ASTM C90 and the masonry design standard and includes a discussion on the benefits and opportunities these new requirements bring.

    Prerequisites: No

    Course Level: Basic

  • Cooktops are manufactured and classified by construction type and method of heat energy transfer. This course reviews the operation, control, performance, and efficiency of induction cooktops in comparison to their gas and electric counterparts, and shows how induction cooktops can be incorporated into any kitchen design in residential and specialty-commercial applications such as marine, mobile, military, academic, institutional, and hospitality.

  • In a good kitchen design, the kitchen faucet plays a key role in terms of both function and style, therefore, choosing the right solution is a critical consideration. This course provides an overview of the functional and style options of kitchen faucets, as well as a discussion of the factors that relate to the quality of a kitchen faucet, including cartridge type, construction and finish.

  • Building owners value daylighting and views but face security and safety challenges with large amounts of glazing. Thermoplastic sheet products offer a variety of glazing solutions that resist security threats while providing transparency, strength, and durability. This course introduces the grades and characteristics of acrylic and polycarbonate sheet products and discusses how they meet the requirements for protection against forced entry and ballistics.

    Prerequisites: No

    Course Level: Introductory

     This course is part of one or more "Course Collections". Click to view details.

  • Thin brick veneer wall systems offer a lightweight design option to use in many areas, both where traditional bricks are used as well as where their use is limited, such as interior accent walls or inset panels. This course outlines the differences between wall systems using anchored and adhered masonry veneer, with a focus on the design, materials, and installation methods of adhered brick veneer wall systems. Use of adhered veneer in interior applications is also discussed.

     This course is part of one or more "Course Collections". Click to view details.

  • Water leaks and damage are some of the biggest problems encountered with masonry construction and cavity walls. The proper choice and installation of flexible through-wall flashing, however, can ensure that moisture is directed out of the wall cavity and the risk of potential damage is minimized.

  • When selecting an underlayment, considerations should include not only durability, sustainability, and comfort underfoot but also any potential subfloor moisture issues. In this course, we review selection criteria for a project-specific underlayment and take a deeper look at subfloor moisture assessment, testing, and solutions.

    Prerequisites: No

    Course Level: Introductory

  • Currently, there are no national or state codes relating to snow retention for roofing applications. Consequently, it is very important for building professionals to take extra care when designing a snow retention system for installations in snowy environments. This course provides a review of the problems and solutions associated with roofing in cold climates, including a discussion on the proper engineering of snow retention devices.

  • This course provides an overview of integral blind assemblies and discusses their benefits over conventional blinds, components and framing options, performance characteristics and testing standards, and common applications.

  • Choosing a sink and countertop for kitchen and bathroom installations can be overwhelming with the array of choices in today's marketplace. To facilitate the selection process, this course provides an overview of the different sink/countertop materials, sink configurations, and installation methods that are utilized in both residential and commercial applications with a focus on seamless integration design.

    Prerequisites: No

    Course Level: Introductory

  • The distinctive look and beauty of natural slate roofing cannot be denied, but it does have its shortcomings. This course explores the history of slate roofs and various slate roofing alternatives and includes discussions on the appearance, performance, and costs of various types of roofs that replicate natural slate, with a focus on composite slate tile roofing, its durability, specification, and installation.

  • Critical to concrete waterproofing are the products used in combination to create a system that ensures complete control of moisture migration. Presented here are effective concrete waterproofing technologies and how they improve the durability and lifespan of structures. Discussions include water penetration, system selection, membrane protection, and cementitious waterproofing.

  • There are numerous model codes written by both the ICC and NFPA relating to toilet room privacy partitions. This course provides up-to-date information relative to selecting and specifying code-compliant toilet partitions for commercial restrooms, including material type, hardware, and mounting configurations. Fire and accessibility codes are discussed, as well as guidelines for writing toilet compartment specifications.

     This course is part of one or more "Course Collections". Click to view details.

  • Comfortable indoor environments with enhanced air quality improve the health and well-being of the building’s occupants. The course compares fabric air dispersion systems to traditional metal duct systems. It explores the evolution of fabric air dispersion systems and discusses essential design considerations, including: shape, layout options, system dimensions, suspension systems, fittings, air dispersion design, fabric options, orifices/vents, and air pressure design, and how they impact energy efficiency and indoor environmental quality.

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