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Building Science Education

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Building America program recognizes that the education of future design/construction industry professionals in solid building science principles is critical to widespread development of high performance homes that are energy efficient, healthy, and durable.

The Building Science Education Roadmap, developed by DOE and leaders of the building science community, outlines the need to:

  • Increase awareness of high performance home benefits
  • Build a solid infrastructure for delivering building science education.

DOE has established three strategies to address these gaps:

  • Race to Zero Student Design Competition: This annual competition helps to provide the next generation of architects, engineers, construction managers, and entrepreneurs with the skills and experience to begin careers in clean energy and generate creative solutions to real-world problems.
  • Building Science to Sales Translator Report: DOE has worked extensively with housing industry representatives and building science experts to compile a new building science glossary that translates technical jargon into an improved consumer experience. This report outlines a glossary of “power words” that help building science resonate with the customer. An interactive online tool will be available in the Building Science Solution Center in late 2015.
  • Guidelines for Building Science Education: The guidelines are intended to be used primarily by training organizations, universities and certification bodies that would like to self-certify that their programs include the most important aspects of building science in their curriculum. Core building science competencies that are integral to the guidelines include: integration of the whole building system; building science principles related to enclosure, operations and maintenance; and building testing and certification.

Race to Zero Student Design Competition

In April 2015, 33 teams from 27 universities throughout the United States and Canada participated in the second annualstudent photo.jpg DOE Race to Zero Student Design Competition. Teams competed to design, analyze, and document a Zero Energy Ready Home that is cost-effective and consistent with mainstream builder construction practices. The students were led by faculty members with a commitment to using building science and design integration in their university programs. Teams presented their zero energy ready home designs to panels of industry experts, who evaluated the design and construction packages, project plans, and energy-saving strategies. View the 2015 results.

Below you will find information about and links to resources and university-level curricula based on the latest advances in building science.

Resources

Visit the websites below to find information about building high performance homes.

University Curricula

Below you will find examples of building science or building physics curricula for universities and 2-year colleges. Curricula include specific building science and building performance courses, and standard courses incorporating advances in building science and quality management.

University of Waterloo

The Building Engineering Group is a multidisciplinary research team that undertakes research, development, and demonstration for the building industry. The curricula adapt advances in building science particularly from the research of Building Science Corporation and other Building America teams. View a listing of current and past courses.

Cornell University

The Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future offers over 200 courses in the Cornell Sustainability Curricula, many of which focus on building science. The Collaborative Sustainable Building Practice course was adapted from the Model "Building Science 101" Course Modules (and resources developed by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (formerly the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges).

Purdue University

The National Association of Home Builders Green Building Educator's Toolkit includes an appendix highlighting the Purdue University Curricula. The Toolkit, developed under a grant from the National Housing Endowment, is based on input from 14 universities, and includes links to "green" curriculum from several schools of construction management.

Related Links

The organizations below address university-level education that supports the design/construction industry.