This course develops critical perspectives on sustainable building by considering the various aspects of building sustainability and different ameliorative strategies. A holistic view of building sustainability extends beyond environmental impacts to address effects of building on social and economic development. Nevertheless, in light of climate change, ameliorative strategies for improved building sustainability focus on environmental impacts of building production and operation. Material innovations such as bio-based and recycled materials address embodied carbon associated with building production. Extended building longevity, transformation and reuse take a different approach to reducing embodied carbon in the built environment. Innovations in architectural systems (such as smart façade systems) and indoor environmental systems, focus on operational energy consumption. These and other approaches to improving building sustainability will be considered in relation to technical, cultural, and economic implications in order to develop critical positions regarding their application and potential effectiveness internationally.
On successful completion of the course, students will be able to:
• Understand the different ways that sustainability is defined and assessed in relation to the built environment;
• Understand the different environmental impacts of production and operations associated with various building types and construction techniques;
• Understand and apply the principles and methods of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to assess environmental impacts of buildings;
• Understand the context-specific technical, cultural, and economic implications of different strategies for reducing environmental impacts of building production and use;
• Develop critical positions regarding the applicability of various approaches to improving building sustainability in relation to different contexts and priorities.
• Identify appropriate sustainability-enhancing architectural strategies that suit particular project-specific contexts and priorities.
Each week, various teaching formats will include lectures, case studies, guest presentations and group discussions. A flipped classroom approach will involve prior individual review of curated learning resources, reserving class time for discussion and interactive learning. Invited experts – including architects and researchers – will present on specific sustainability approaches and sustainable building case studies for further analysis and discussion. For assessment, student groups will analyze case study buildings, identifying and evaluating the sustainability strategies employed in relation to technical, cultural, and economic implications and sustainability effects, incorporating elements of LCA and other systems of sustainability assessment. Classes will be conducted in English. Assignments may be submitted in French, German or English.