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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  • 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 above- and below-grade floors and walls or plaza decks are designed to work together to provide tight, durable, and complete protection against not just water but also 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.

  • 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

  • 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

  • Keeping bathrooms and kitchens clean and hygienic is essential to health and well-being but can be challenging in busy family homes. This course introduces some basic principles of home hygiene, provides an overview of the most effective cleaning strategies, and shows how contemporary kitchen and bathroom technology and design innovations can make hygienic cleaning substantially easier. Technologies discussed include touchless activation, intelligent toilets, bidet seats, and antimicrobial surfaces.

    Prerequisites: No

    Course Level: Introductory

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

  • Universal design is not a new concept; however, it is time for a paradigm shift. Considering ADA design, universal design, and living in place, should designers now be offering universal design solutions to all clients, regardless of age or ability? This course reviews both ADA and universal design guidelines and discusses compelling reasons for recommending universal design in your kitchen and bathroom projects. Various kitchen and bathroom applications are discussed in detail.

    Prerequisites: No

    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

  • Synthetic (artificial) grass, specifically designed for use with dogs, is a cost-effective solution that offers a clean, safe, and aesthetically pleasing environment for dogs. Presented here are the health, safety, performance, and cost benefits of installing synthetic grass specifically designed for dogs; its suitable applications; design considerations; installation factors; and maintenance guidelines.

  • Whether in a home or hotel, the bathroom serves as both grooming station and refuge. The well-designed styling space saves us time and effort, as well as making the time we spend more enjoyable. This course discusses what constitutes the ideal styling space experience and recent technological innovations that help achieve it.

  • Textile air dispersion systems have come a long way from the days of cotton diffusers and duct socks. Today's systems are custom engineered and constructed from advanced polyester fabrics that offer features and capabilities not possible with other air distribution systems. This course examines the similarities and differences between metal and fabric systems and highlights the design, performance, efficiency, and sustainability characteristics unique to textile air dispersion. As well, the wide-ranging application possibilities for textile systems are explored.

    Prerequisites:No

    Course Level:Introductory

  • Ventilation grilles influence HVAC system performance but can pose aesthetic challenges for designers. Custom grilles made with modern fabrication techniques employ a variety of materials and finishes to create solutions that enhance and fully integrate with architectural interiors. This course discusses the basic mechanics of effective air distribution in buildings, performance characteristics of grilles, grille types, and custom design options.

    Prerequisites: No

    Course Level: Introductory

  • 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.

    Prerequisites: No

    Course Level: Introductory

  • 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.

  • 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 applications where wood may be exposed to moisture, insects, or fungal organisms, preservative-treated wood can ensure a project’s durability. This course reviews: the manufacturing process for pressure-treated wood; types of preservative treatments and the required levels of retention as dictated by the end-use application, desired service life, and exposure conditions; American Wood Protection Association (AWPA) Use Category standards; current issues concerning preserved wood in residential and commercial construction; and Best Management Practices (BMPs) for aquatic uses.

  • Rainscreens are a multi component system offering redundancy in resisting the weather, however, continuity of each component is critical. When an insulated metal panel (IMP) is used within the system it can function as a number of these components, simplifying installation and improving performance. This course looks at IMPs acting as barrier walls behind various rainscreen systems, with a discussion on the performance characteristics for air, water, vapor, and thermal management.

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

  • Rooftop decks create valuable living and recreational space for building owners, residents, and clients. Accommodating restaurants, hotels, healthcare facilities, and everything from residential to government buildings, rooftop deck systems offer the design flexibility to create versatile, unique outdoor spaces over any structural surface. This course explores the features, surface materials, and design options for rooftop deck systems and provides an overview of recommended planning and installation guidelines.

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