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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  • The importance of the building envelope in improving energy efficiency and building performance has been well established. The many envelope products and systems now available, along with a considerable amount of (mis)information as to their usage, make it difficult for designers to make choices that avoid costly building failures. This course explores in detail proper product selection, performance characteristics, applicable codes, testing procedures, best practices, and tie-in details for air and vapor barriers that will ensure a continuous air seal and a high-performance envelope.

  • Roof glazing products can positively affect building occupants by illuminating the interior of a space, providing views to the outside, and allowing for natural ventilation. There are many factors to be considered during the product selection process to ensure performance goals are realized. Presented in this course are roof window and skylight design and performance criteria, relevant building codes and standards, and types of roof windows and skylights and their features.

  • Whether replacing an existing roof, building a new roof from scratch, or some type of roof repair project in between, deciding on critical design factors is the key to a successful roofing system project. Each layer of a roofing assembly requires careful consideration and analysis to assess for impacts to the entire building. Using real-life scenarios and practice activities, this course explores the most common components of a roofing system, the advantages and disadvantages of each system, and how the critical factors aid in the assessment of the most appropriate system to meet the needs of the building and client.

  • The world of windows is much more complex than one might suspect, given the different sizes, shapes, and types that are available and the performance requirements they must meet. As well, glass comes in many specialized forms intended for different applications. This course focuses on aluminum commercial window components and configurations, as well as the benefits they offer affecting both performance goals and design requirements. Also included are discussions on historic and acoustic applications.

  • Roofing is a big investment and that’s why durability is so important: it translates directly into lower total cost of ownership. Given the number of low-slope commercial roofs found in today’s cities, it is key that architects/designers have an understanding of the forces that affect the durability of a roof assembly. This presentation looks at the value rigid cover boards deliver to a commercial roof assembly, how they perform in adverse conditions, and how different types of cover boards compare to each other.

  • Thermally controlled environments such as cold storage freezers and coolers, and food processing and packaging facilities take many different forms. Their performance and functionality depend on their project-specific requirements and can be affected by the conditions the materials and systems are subjected to. This course discusses how insulated metal panels (IMPs) perform the necessary functions to provide an effective energy-efficient building envelope and why they are suitable for use within temperature-controlled hygienic environments—where performance is critical.

  • In today’s high performance building market, specifying materials that work together as a complete wall system is more critical than ever. Systems can help designers meet new energy codes, reduce costs and improve building function and sustainability while making the design process faster and simpler. Focusing on the most common exterior wall system, steel stud with masonry veneer, this course will detail key system components, recent advances in building analysis, code requirements and a comprehensive systems approach.

  • This course discusses all the elements that need to be considered to specify a steel stud masonry veneer wall as separate components, including air and weather barrier, drainage preservation, anchors and washers, and codes and standards and offers an alternative in the systemized wall.

  • Traditionally, monolithic concrete forms are made of lumber. After the concrete has been poured, the lumber forms must be stripped from the concrete. The footer and the slab must then be insulated for frost protection. This course details how a frost-protected shallow foundation (FPSF) is constructed and introduces a new, innovative, stay-in-place EPS (expanded polystyrene) footing form that provides insulation and simplifies the installation of frost-protected monolithic concrete slab foundations.

  • This course explains and illustrates how high-performance, fully composite insulated sandwich wall panels can be detailed to achieve continuous insulation. It explores the pros, cons, and attributes of wythe connectors such as carbon fiber trusses as well as panel insulation options, manufacturing and testing procedures, and installation methods. It concludes by providing a comprehensive set of sample installations to illustrate the broad range of building types and appearances that can be created with insulated sandwich wall systems.

  • Today, architects and designers need to give special consideration to building acoustics when developing plans for new and newly renovated construction projects. Excessive noise in any environment is considered a serious problem which can lead to learning difficulties, sleep deprivation, delayed recovery from illness and lack of privacy. Sound basics are discussed in this course, and STC, IIC, and sound attenuation (reduction) techniques are explained. Various case studies are examined to develop further understanding of the performance of common sound abatement assemblies.

  • With the relatively recent development of new products and procedures for polishing concrete, concrete floors have added aesthetic appeal to their list of impressive performance characteristics. This course will discuss improving and prolonging the performance of finished concrete floors by exploring the many benefits of concrete flooring, summarizing the procedure for creating concrete floors, explaining maintenance methods and spill removal, and explaining how a floor protection plan will aid in the prolonged service life of the floor.

  • The evolution of kitchen design reflects how our lives have changed, and these changes have made a profound impact on the way we use water and our expectations regarding water delivery. This course discusses how kitchen water-delivery technology is changing to: meet and anticipate the evolving needs and expectations of our ever-changing population, provide stylish and innovative solutions that add multi-functionality to faucets, and help consumers find a smarter way to work with water.

  • This course will discuss overall project performance from the perspective of improved steel joist design and metal decking design. This includes ways to improve the request for information (RFI) process, and ways to reduce a range of traditionally tolerated project costs. Best engineering practices, cost-accountable architectural achievement, practices that reduce the consumption of raw materials, and the importance of taking the project owner's point of view when designing the steel package will be summarized. Building information modeling (BIM) - based project collaboration will also be discussed.

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

  • High-performance architectural glass can significantly improve the energy efficiency of buildings while reducing their operating costs and carbon emissions. This course provides in-depth information about the solar energy spectrum and common glass performance measures, including the manufacturing processes for passive and solar control low-e coatings and how the energy, environmental, and economic benefits of low-e glass are quantified.

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

  • “Sustainable” design isn’t just “environmental.” It’s design that works for and contributes to the health and welfare of all individuals as well as the planet, now and in the future. This course looks at hand dryers as part of sustainably designed restrooms, and discusses how air knife hand dryers benefit the environment through energy-efficiency, resource conservation, and waste reduction, and benefit all members of society by meeting ADA requirements and Universal Design principles.

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

  • Vinyl is strong and resistant to moisture and abrasion, and therefore is the most widely used plastic for building and construction. This course presents vinyl flooring, its manufacturing process, testing standards, and performance characteristics. The course discusses the environmental impacts of vinyl flooring throughout its lifespan and its contributions to meeting green building codes and standards.

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

  • Some of the design goals for healthcare buildings are efficiency and cost-effectiveness, cleanliness and sanitation, security and safety and sustainability. Vinyl’s unique attributes mean that it can address these needs in a number of locations in the building. This course reviews those attributes through a look at the chemistry and performance characteristics of vinyl, and its innovative uses for healthcare design challenges.

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

  • Vinyl plays a major role in the design and construction of modern buildings, and it contributes to sustainability, wellness and resilience of people and their communities. This course demonstrates the importance of achieving client performance goals using thoughtful, multi-attribute material selection criteria.

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

  • Water is essential to life on Earth. We use it every day for drinking, cooking, cleaning, irrigating, and much more. And while it is such an important part of our lives, we are facing mounting issues when it comes to droughts, flooding, and the systems and infrastructure by which we receive our water. This course covers local and global water supply and demand issues, our current water infrastructure systems and where they are failing, and new technologies and innovations that are helping create more sustainable water solutions for the future.

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

  • There are several key elements that must be considered with a cavity wall system. Heat, air, and moisture — both vapor and liquid — have a definite impact on how a cavity wall system should be designed and constructed. Once these elements have been addressed, a cavity wall system will increase energy efficiency, meet the required energy and fire code standards, and will provide cost-savings over the life of the building.

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

  • Leading aluminum extrusion manufacturers have established a variety of methods pertaining to material grade, surface protection, and component solutions to maximize the benefits of aluminum to suit a wide variety of applications. These advancements in technology have led to the development of sustainable wood-patterned aluminum products designed for exterior and interior applications. This course focuses on how these products can be used as a beautiful, high performance, durable alternative for real wood in a range of applications, including screens, facades, decking, fencing, gates, cladding, and more.

  • The beautiful gray patina of zinc architectural metal has graced the rooftops of buildings in Europe for hundreds of years. This course examines the sustainable characteristics of zinc as a roofing material, including its 100% recyclability, zero VOC requirement, and low embodied energy production process. The life cycle analysis of zinc is examined, as is zinc’s long-term service life. Various types of roof and wall applications are also discussed.

  • Air curtains create a seamless barrier of air over any door, window, or opening, offering significant energy savings to building owners and helping to maintain interior building temperatures. This course will provide an overview of air curtains and how they can affect whole building energy consumption by minimizing energy lost through an unprotected opening. Selection, application, and installation of the various types of air curtains will be discussed in detail.

  • Choosing the right insulation is becoming one of the most important decisions in design, construction and retrofit, as insulation has a dramatic impact on the energy efficiency of a building. The use of continuous insulation (ci) construction systems on the exterior of the building is critical in order to design energy efficient buildings. This course reviews the manufacture and use of mineral wool, and its contribution to sustainable buildings as a continuous insulation.

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

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