SEDE: Sustainable Environmental Design Education
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The California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB) together with the Renewable Energy Institute at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo (REI) undertook a project from March 2002 to May 2004 to improve the adoption of sustainable environmental design principles in higher education and industry continuing education programs in architecture and landscape architecture. This web site marks the beginning of a resource package that we hope will evolve into a living resource and human network for sustainable design.



Environmental Context of the Project

Buildings and landscapes consume material, energy, and water resources on an enormous scale. The World Watch Institute reported (Roodman and Lessen, 1995) that the impacts of building construction on people and the environment are approximated at:

• 40% virgin materials (raw stone, gravel, and sand)
• 25% virgin wood used for construction
• 40% total energy resources
• 16% total water withdrawals
• percentage of construction waste comparable to municipal solid waste generation
• 30% of new and renovated buildings have unhealthy indoor air quality.

Educating current and future generations of architects, builders, contractors, interior designers, and landscape architects to design, build, deconstruct, and renovate projects in ways that are more symbiotic with the efficiencies and resiliency of natural systems is critical at a time when we may have exceeded the world's peak oil production (Deffeyes, 2001) as well as are rapidly exceeding our planet's carrying capacity for the ecological systems that support us (Wackernagel and Rees, 1996). A sustainable environmental design curriculum is a step towards outlining issues and creating a resource package for course development in post-secondary educational settings.


Definition of Sustainable Design

"Sustainable Environmental Design" consists of the principles and practices of architecture and landscape architecture that protect environmental quality and human health, reduce environmental impacts resulting from physical changes to buildings and landscapes, and improve the life-cycle economics of natural, human, and financial investments in the built and natural environments.

[Definition for this project.]

The project, entitled SEDE for Sustainable Environmental Design Education, consists of three parts:

  • A survey and needs assessment of sustainable environmental design education in post-secondary architecture and landscape architecture programs primarily in California.
  • A curriculum model for teaching sustainable design to future landscape and architecture professionals that addresses these needs (including references to case studies illustrated above).
  • An outreach strategy to disseminate the model to post-secondary landscape and architecture educators in the State and beyond.

This web site presents the survey results and the curriculum model. It is also intended to serve as a dissemination tool to share the materials developed with educators. For more information about or to contribute to the curriculum project, contact us (c/o Professor Margot McDonald, Architecture Dept. and REI, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo).


1 May 2004