green building online course

Meeting growing global energy demand, while mitigating climate change and environmental impacts, requires a large-scale transition to clean, sustainable energy systems. Students and professionals around the world must prepare for careers in this future energy landscape, gaining relevant skills and knowledge to expedite the transformation in industry, government and nongovernmental organizations, academia, and nonprofits.

The building sector represents a large percentage of overall energy consumption, and contributes 40% of the carbon emissions driving climate change. Yet buildings also offer opportunities for substantial, economical energy efficiency gains. From retrofit projects to new construction, buildings require a context-specific design process that integrates efficiency strategies and technologies.

In this course, you’ll be introduced to a range of technologies and analysis techniques for designing comfortable, resource-efficient buildings.

The primary focus of this course is the study of the thermal and luminous behavior of buildings. You’ll examine the basic scientific principles underlying these phenomena, and use computer-aided design software and climate data to explore the role light and energy can play in shaping architecture.

These efficiency design elements are critical to the larger challenge of producing energy for a growing population while reducing carbon emissions.

What you’ll learn

Skip What you’ll learn

  • Understand the scientific principles underlying the thermal and luminous behavior of buildings
  • Learn to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of a range of technologies for creating comfortable indoor environments

Syllabus

Skip Syllabus

Week 1 – Energy Use in Buildings

  • Course Introduction
  • Assignment: Energy Benchmarking

Week 2 – Understanding Climate

  • Solar Radiation
  • Wind, Temperature, and Relative Humidity
  • Assignment: Direct Shading

Week 3 – Designing with Climate

  • Thermal Comfort
  • Assignment: Thermal Comfort

Week 4 – Daylighting

  • Active Solar
  • Light and Human Vision
  • Assignment: PV Study

Week 5 – Daylight Simulations

  • Daylight Simulations and Availability Metrics

Week 6 – Electric Lighting

  • Visual Comfort
  • Electric Lighting and Occupant Behavior
  • Assignment: Glare and Electric Lighting

Week 7 – Heat Flow

  • Thermal Mass and Heat Flow
  • Insulation Materials and Window Technologies
  • Assignment: Thermal Mass

Week 8 – Thermal Loads

  • Shading and Integrated Façade Design
  • Ventilation
  • Assignment: Natural Ventilation

Week 9 – Thermal Simulations

  • Internal Gains and Load Calculations
  • Assignment: Internal Gains

Week 10 – Heating, Cooling, and Ventilation (HVAC)

  • HVAC for Small Buildings
  • HVAC for Large Buildings

Weeks 11  12 Designing a Sustainable Building

  • Assignment: Final project: Designing a Sustainable Building

Week 13  Grading Final Project

  • Peer review final design projects

Have your friends, family members or colleagues ever asked you about green building? We’ve got the perfect resources for you to share. For people who don’t work directly on green buildings themselves, occupants of LEED-certified buildings who’d like to know more, and employees of USGBC member companies who want to understand the industry, we offer introductory courses on our education platform.

These two courses are free to all:

Free introductory courses

  1. Green Building for Everyone: Green buildings are all around us—they’re where we work, live, learn and play. This course covers the basics of how green buildings impact the environment, the economy and our lives, while sharing examples of green building features. It is also available in Spanish.
  2. Green Building 101: This course provides more information on how green buildings support a healthy and sustainable future. Designed for anyone interested in sustainability but new to green building concepts and strategies, it provides actions you can take to become a “green building champion.”

Learn more

Join Professor Martin Fischer in a free online course on Making Green Buildings. Starting this month, the class will focus on improving sustainability within the built environment. In this course, you will learn how to manage project teams in order to better design and construct sustainable buildings. The free course aims to spread the knowledge of the sustainable building process so everyone may participate. “Such integrated and holistic project management approach requires a new mindset and novel methods, which are taught in the class.”

Continue reading for more information on the professor and the course.

Martin Fischer is globally known for developing virtual 4D (time plus 3D) modeling methods to improve project planning, increase team productivity and progress sustainability of the built environment. His award winning research, which has been used by multiple organizations worldwide, focuses on modeling, predicting, measuring and improving the life-cycle performance of the building environment. His certifications include a Diplome d’Ingenieur from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, a MS in Industrial Engineering-Engineering Management and a PhD in Civil Engineering form Stanford University. He has teaching experience in Europe, South America, North America and Asia.

The online, entry-level course will start January 2012, consisting of a class format made up of short lecture videos and quizzes in which you may watch and complete at your own leisure. There will be approximately two hours of video content per week, broken up into eight to twelve minute sections. A Q&A forum will be available to answer all questions. There will be no textbook and no cost required. Participants will not receive any college credit. Basic knowledge about the design and construction process, engineering economy and accounting is suggested.

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