New Spring 2005 Course:

Green Design and Technologies


STS 297F (Schedule # 465166) / 497F (Schedule # 465169)

Mon & Wed 2:30pm – 3:45pm

206 Hammond


In brief, topics will include integrating living systems (e.g. plants) with the built and engineered environment, including Living Machines, Breathing Walls, Bioshelters, Green Roofs, etc.; as well as state-of-the-art materials in Green building design & construction and the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED criteria (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design).  Key projects include a two design projects: designing and planning to construct a Breathing Wall (which uses ferns, mosses and other house plants to clean the interior air of buildings, including removal of pathogens!); and the integrated design of a proposed commercial healing center & community called "Neo-Terra".  Several classes will meet in the greenhouses behind Tyson Building so that you can learn about Living Machines, green roofs and actually construct the breathing wall as a functioning scale model. 


Topics will include:

  • Defining Green Design: Natural Systems Constraints and Regenerative Solutions
  • Green Design Toolkit: Best Examples of Green Design and Technologies - Conception, Construction, Critique
  • Energy and Materials Issues to Consider
  • High-Tech versus Low-Tech Approaches: from LEED to Earthen Architecture
  • Appropriate Technology and Assessment Tools: Ecological versus Industrial Metabolism
  • Beauty, Patterning, and Geometry: Blending with Functionality
  • Visionary Green Community Design:  Putting it all together, Building on the Best


Socio-economic issues will be considered, including strategies for motivating societal adoption of “greener” buildings and landscapes.  Planetary limits will provide certain design constraints to be considered.  As per all STS courses, the heart of the course are today’s “felt” problems that serve to motivate us to learn how to best effectively address them – thereby effectively acquiring the basic skills needed to do so.


The course will be used to connect you with state-of-the-art businesses doing this kind of work and provide you with eco-entrepreneurial ideas that may launch your future meaningful career!  If nothing else, you'll go away with a deeper understanding of the complexity of designing for a sustainable world and what things that might entail.


A mix of team work and individual assignments will be used in class

I hope we will find it to be a fun and engaging experience for all!



Can petition to get course to satisfy appropriate Gen-Ed requirements

There will be slightly different assignments for 297F and 497F students