ENVR E-119: Sustainability for Buildings and Communities

Changing the paradigm of urban development to become healthier and more sustainable requires a common baseline understanding of principles, metrics, and decision-making tools. This course demonstrates how intentional design, planning, and leadership within the built environment sector can contribute to urban resiliency by creating efficiencies, incorporating ecological services, and enhancing human health. Synergies between the principles of site design, building performance, and less consumptive resource use connect healthy built environments to healthy communities at the level of scale, with resiliency a point of emphasis throughout the course. Students learn sustainable building principles and understand resource inputs/outputs for energy, water, land use, and material and solid waste through lectures and site visits and become familiar with international standards for sustainable design, operations, and management of buildings. Strategies for landscape design, healthy building material use, neighborhood design, and project criteria developed to address the environmental and human health concerns that accompany urbanization are addressed. Frameworks include the US Green Building Council's LEED ratings systems for buildings and communities, the International Living Future Institute's Living Building Challenge and Declare programs, Biophilic Cities Network criteria, the WELL healthy buildings system, and the Zofnass Envision program for sustainable infrastructure.

Notes: This course includes an intensive and mandatory weekend residency and online lectures. The course begins online, with the option to attend class on campus, during the first week of the term, and continues to meet throughout the term. Please see the course website or syllabus for the specific two-hour course meeting dates. Tuition does not include hotel accommodations, transportation, or meals for the on-campus weekend session.


Linda Powers Tomasso
Emil Cuevas-Melendez






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  • [Course titles in brackets] indicate that the course is not scheduled to be taught during the 2017-2018 academic year, but may be offered in an alternate year.
  • An asterisk (*) before a course number indicates that a student must obtain the instructor's permission in order to enroll in the course.

Harvard University
Center for the Environment

Address: 26 Oxford Street, 4th Floor, Cambridge
Phone: (617) 495-0368

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