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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  • Cladding can have a significant effect on the environmental performance and aesthetic appeal of a residential or mixed-use building. When designing a building exterior, in new construction or for a makeover, there are many variables to consider and numerous cladding options to choose from. This course discusses the performance of vinyl siding products, including their design, color retention, ease of installation, and durability, and illustrates how vinyl siding can achieve almost any architectural style, to suit any neighborhood.

  • Commercial building interiors see all kinds of wear and tear on a daily basis. Various forms of wall protection can combat this wear and tear to help extend the longevity of a space, maintain a clean look, and cut down on maintenance costs. This course discusses the different wall protection products available, how to identify which wall protection products fit certain applications, and which building codes apply to these products.

  • Rain has been cited as the most important thing to control in wall construction. Rainscreen systems have, for over five decades, proven to be highly effective in this regard. Following an analysis of moisture management issues and rainscreen systems, this course then identifies the unique attributes of wood-plastic composites (WPC) for use in rainscreen applications. It concludes with a detailed description of how WPC cladding should be applied and fastened in rainscreen systems.

  • There are some complex issues involved in achieving ADA-compliant designs in all types of building construction. In terms of bathroom design, it is important to comprehend the ADA standards in order to minimize the risk of injury and to ensure end user comfort and ease of use. This course covers ADA-compliant design requirements for shower compartments and lavatory tops using solid surface materials—from planning and design to installation.

  • Acrylic foam tape is a two-sided, closed-cell acrylic foam, pressure-sensitive adhesive. It is adhesive throughout its entire construction, including the foam core. This course evaluates the physical properties, performance characteristics, and design benefits of using acrylic foam tapes for structural glazing and architectural panel applications.

  • When the asphalt fumes, open flame and kettles that accompany hot applied roofing are not permissible, cold applied roofing is an option. There are a variety of types of cold applied roofing that offer easy portability of materials to the roof, smaller roofing crews, ease of application and a low VOC option. In this course we’ll focus on the adhesive application of modified bitumen membranes using bituminous cold process adhesives, the adhesive types, their components and characteristics, application methods and design and use considerations.

  • A well-designed building is only as durable as the roof that protects it. For a relatively minor investment, roofing cover boards solve many issues that cause damage to a roof during installation and into the warranty period. This course reviews low-slope roof systems and discusses various cover board types and reasons for their use, including benefits, primary features, and challenges.

  • Rolling doors are used in heavy-duty, medium-duty, and light-duty applications for a wide range of commercial, industrial and construction environments. The course provides a review of the features, components, options and applications of various types of commercial rolling door products.

  • The term “post-frame building system” refers to a building erected with structural frames of wood posts as columns and trusses or rafters for roof framing. Post-frame buildings are engineered for site and building requirements and through proper design and quality materials, they can be constructed to be as strong as a steel-frame building. This course covers the attributes, construction methods, materials, of post-frame building systems and their applications for low-rise commercial buildings.

  • As some of the earliest building materials, masonry and concrete have been used for their durability and strength. However, masonry architecture, both historical and contemporary, has been left vulnerable to water—the single most damaging element to masonry in our environment. This course will identify common water-related problems for masonry and concrete, describe protective treatments and their benefits, and explain the process for selecting and applying a protective treatment.

  • 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.

  • Commercial aluminum wall, window, and roof systems have undergone improvements in recent decades, making them technologically sufficient to meet contemporary standards of durability. In addition to being familiar with the systems' thermal and other ecological benefits, specifiers need to understand paint chemistry and the difference between powder and liquid coating application methods. It is also important to understand third-party specifications published by AAMA, which cover architectural coatings.

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

  • Insulation is one of the most critical factors in maintaining the life of a building. With benefits such as energy efficiency and code compliance, polyurethane spray foam insulation is the ideal choice for many interior and exterior applications. This course examines both low- and medium-density polyurethane spray foam insulation, its characteristics, design considerations, and life cycle analysis for commercial applications.

  • 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.

  • As a result of new technology and innovative bath fixtures, showering can now be a multi-dimensional experience. With the myriad of options available in the marketplace, consumers look to building professionals to help create a shower solution that meets their personal needs. This course provides an overview of standard and custom shower systems, including the evolution of showers, design and installation considerations for custom showers, and green programs that address showerhead requirements and water conservation.

  • Made to withstand the elements over time, learn how Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) membranes are designed to offer exceptional resistance to ultraviolet light, ozone, and weathering. Gain an understanding of why TPO single-ply roofing systems are the fastest-growing commercial roofing product, and have gained broad industry acceptance for their many performance and installation advantages such as heat-welded seams. This course reinforces that not all thermoplastic roofing solutions are alike, and that TPO is the most environmentally friendly thermoplastic available.

  • Ultra-thin prestressed precast technology provides a versatile, lightweight panel that offers the strength and aesthetic versatility of concrete at a fraction of the weight. Reviewed in this course are the benefits, design and cost considerations, and the connection and fastening systems of prestressed precast panels in architectural applications.

  • Daylight is an essential part of our health and well-being, but it needs management. Shading strives to maximize daylight without compromising building occupant comfort and well-being. This course explores the role daylight has within the built environment and its impact on occupants and energy usage, with a focus on how to better specify shadecloth based on factors such as project type, solar optical properties, shadecloth composition, and environmental factors.

  • 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.

  • There are many steps required to ensure a well thought out and complete construction project. This course examines procedures for inspection of permeable interlocking concrete pavement or PICP. It addresses preconstruction meeting details, requirements for submittals, and site inspection points from project start to completion. Various testing methods and inspection criteria are presented as well, and the importance of having an ICPI-trained contractor on the job site is discussed.

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