Sustainability and the Built Environment Certificate Program | UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education

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Sustainability and the Built Environment Certificate Program

Become a Sustainability Leader

Designed for professionals looking to take their studies and careers in sustainability even further, this certificate offers a comprehensive curriculum on how to plan, design, construct and manage communities from a more sustainable perspective. Learn about the latest planning approaches and policy/regulatory requirements; green architecture, sustainable site design and landscapes; renewable energy and energy efficiency; sustainable water resources management; and green infrastructure. Acquire the skills necessary to integrate sustainable design principles into long-range visions and the day-to-day development and management of the built environment.

What You’ll Learn

You’ll learn how to:

  • Examine principles of sustainable communities, how to measure sustainability and how to incorporate these ideas into community plans, neighborhood designs, site, building and landscape plans, climate action plans and more
  • Integrate the latest sustainable technologies into site design, building construction, landscapes and infrastructure
  • Comply with new regulations, polices and requirements driving sustainable communities
  • Prepare for LEED accreditation and related "green" certifications
  • Apply specific skills, techniques, models and methods to your plan or project immediately with hands-on design and analytical exercises

What You’ll Get

Our program offers:

  • One-on-one interaction with veteran sustainability professionals from a variety of industries
  • Unique networking opportunities with instructors and fellow students that can help advance your career
  • Class projects and case studies that provide dynamic, real-world training in emerging best practices and new sustainability technologies
  • Practical planning knowledge and regulatory updates that can be applied immediately to your job

About the Program:

Gain practical knowledge that matters

  • Examine principles of sustainable communities, how to measure sustainability, and how to incorporate these ideas into community plans, neighborhood designs, site, building and landscape plans, climate action plans and more.
  • Stay apprised of the latest sustainable technologies and learn how to integrate them into site design, building construction, landscapes and infrastructure.
  • Discover new regulations, polices and requirements driving sustainable communities.
  • Prepare for LEED accreditation and related "green" certifications.
  • Learn to apply specific skills, techniques, models and methods to your plan or project immediately with hands-on design and analytical exercises.

Designed for professionals like you

This certificate is designed for working professionals in land use planning, environmental and energy policy, architecture, landscape architecture, engineering, transportation, administration, business, consulting, law, construction and development. It is also applicable to any professional requiring skill and knowledge in sustainability. The program teaches participants how to integrate and apply sustainability best practices into their work.

Program Requirements:

The 16-unit Sustainability and the Built Environment Certificate Program consists of eight required courses.

Course content is frequently revised to ensure that the program is up-to-date with the latest industry standards. For this reason, you must complete all of the course requirements of your certificate within five years from the day you enroll in the first course. A certificate will not be awarded if the requirements are not completed and your application for candidacy is not received within this timeframe.

Quarterly schedule of courses

Required Courses

In this comprehensive course, examine sustainability principles as they apply to the built environment—from the economic, environmental and social-equity perspectives. Learn how researchers and analysts define sustainability, and how they measure and track progress. Explore historical precursors of the current sustainability movement, and how they translate into planning, engineering, architecture, landscape architecture, construction and other fields. Examine planning, design and building problems holistically, and learn about life-cycle analyses. Analyze numerous case studies, specific projects and emerging technologies and planning approaches from around the world. Students are encouraged to pursue their own passions and interests in sustainability and to work on real-world problem solving requiring multiple disciplines and perspectives.
This course is not currently open for enrollment.

Learn about fundamental planning issues and sustainability processes as they apply to community planning and design situations. Identify key challenges in incorporating sustainability into planning strategies, policies and site design. Examine technical and environmental factors including different planning models in policy, planning and design. Acquire techniques for site assessment to better plan for and incorporate sustainable practices into policy and design. Explore ways that policies, codes and standards can be modified to encourage sustainable planning and design practices.

Topics include:

  • Land use planning
  • Smart growth and urban design
  • Transportation policy and design
  • Environmental site design
  • Site assessment and selection
  • Brownfield redevelopment strategies
  • Infill development

Each topic will be taught with an eye toward integrating sustainable practices into planning and site scale.

This course is not currently open for enrollment.

Learn about the fundamentals of water resources management from a sustainable perspective and how to incorporate a sustainable water resources approach into various types of urban development and infrastructure at the policy, planning and design levels.

Topics include:

  • Methods for assessing long term water use and demand - Water conservation practices
  • Sustainable landscape design
  • Basics of water quality and waste water treatment in urban areas
  • Use of recycled and grey water
  • Rain water harvest and innovative approaches to LID-style storm water management

Apply sustainability principles to natural or impacted urban stream and wetland sites, and gain a fundamental understanding of how to implement sustainable water resource practices in varied community design situations.

This course is not currently open for enrollment.

The average American house is 2,400 square-feet and uses more than 13,000 board-feet of lumber, 6,000 square-feet of sheathing and 2,000 square-feet of flooring—putting a strain on our natural resources. Rising energy costs, a shortage of building materials, growing consumer demand and environmental awareness are forcing architects, designers and building professionals to seek better and more efficient ways to design our buildings. 

This course explores the issues, challenges and opportunities associated with green building and sustainable design. Examine innovative residential, commercial, industrial, mixed-use, and low- and high-density specialty buildings. Evaluate the micro- and macro-economic issues associated with green buildings.

Focus on the holistic and geometric aspects of green design, and discuss how comprehensive building design can respond to the needs of occupants and environmental circumstances. The course will also examine specific building technologies, such as thermal, water and lighting control systems, and how to use them. 

This course is not currently open for enrollment.

Learn to implement green building practices into homes, apartments, business complexes and office buildings. Utilize materials and techniques that promote healthy, durable and environmentally-responsible construction. Increase your understanding of helpful tools and resources, including green building rating systems. Discover the latest and best green construction methods changing the landscape of the building industry. Explore life-cycle assessment methods of materials and be a better-informed designer or builder when selecting materials. Examine sustainable construction methods used in today's green commercial and residential buildings in relation to their energy and environmental impacts and benefits. Hands-on exercises provide innovative solutions you can put to use immediately.

Topics include:

  • Desirable characteristics of sustainable materials and how to assess and quantify them
  • Concept of "cradle-to-cradle" product analysis and its application to building materials
  • Sustainable site design materials and landscaping systems
  • Alternative structural systems (including adobe, strawbale and rammed earth)
  • Salvaged materials and material reduction
  • Building commissioning and modular systems and design
  • Construction and demolition waste diversion
This course is not currently open for enrollment.

Examine the energy issue from the macro perspective of the built environment to the micro approach of how heat flows throughout a building. Using the "whole building" perspective, discover some of the natural and mechanical means of heating, cooling and ventilation for improved indoor air quality and cost savings. The breakdown of how energy is used in its final stage is a critical component of a successful sustainable environment. Examine how conservation and the effectiveness of renewable energy sources, such as solar and solar thermal power, biomass, wind power, hydroelectric and photovoltaic are key elements to achieving energy efficiency. Learn to analyze energy use as an effective strategy to promote energy conservation in the built environment, including solar panels, exterior shades, lighting a space, painting a roof white and the issues and technology of bio fuels. 

This course is not currently open for enrollment.
Gain an in-depth understanding of the LEED Building, Design and Construction (BD&C) rating systems for new construction projects, schools, and core and shell projects as well as the process to document and obtain certification. Learn how to register, document and certify LEED BD&C projects. Review case studies, local project examples and take an optional tour of a LEED-certified building. This course will help prepare you to take LEED accreditation exams and better understand how to achieve LEED certification for buildings.
This course is not currently open for enrollment.
Making the business case is a key piece for advancing a sustainability initiative in any type of organization, and knowing how to develop the financial rationale for the business case is a key component of gaining support for the initiative. This course will examine and apply the tools, models and approaches that students can use to develop the business and financial rationale for a sustainability initiative. Because the business case for sustainability often involves identifying and measuring impacts to communities and the environment, students will learn how to frame these impacts into an approach that communicates a return on the investment. The main deliverable for the course will be creation of a real business case for a sustainability initiative of the students’ selection.
This course is not currently open for enrollment.

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