Penn State University has mandated that all of its future buildings will be LEED-certified. There is a
growing "Green Building" movement across the U.S. Many design professionals are becoming LEED-
accredited through the U.S. Green Building Council's new LEED program.
This course is the first time LEED course instruction is being offered to students at the university
level. It is a pilot course - first in the nation.
As a design professional, it would cost you about $1400 to take the three USGBC workshops, and between
workshops, you would apply what you have learned to projects you are working on. We have obtained
external funding to cover the cost of these workshops so that students can enroll for this course and attend
all three USGBC workshops, which prepares them for taking the LEED-accreditation exam. To provide
students with projects to which they can apply and practice LEED, we will be providing real buildings for
the students to design/evaluate by LEED criteria and software as detailed below.
Jointly sponsored and funded by the Raymond A. Bowers Program for Excellence in Design and
Construction of the Built Environment and the U.S. Green Building Council (www.usgbc.org), this course
is open to 8 students each in Architecture, Architectural Engineering and Landscape Architecture (5th
semester or higher, with enrollment preference given to senior students).
Students will work in four teams of six students (two from each discipline) to learn and apply integrated
systems design principles and evaluative criteria and software from the U.S. Green Building Council's
LEED program (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).
*receive instruction in the steps needed to design and construct a LEED-certified building;
*develop a "tool kit" of options, methods and procedures in Integrated Systems Design;
*apply what they learn by writing the specs and doing the energy modeling needed to satisfy LEED program credits for a real structure (the Penn State Living Machine facility, slated for completion in January 2003) and a hypothetical one in the design phase (the Endurable House project at Penn State);
*determine and apply for the LEED-certification level of the Penn State Living Machine;
*and have the option of taking the USGBC exam to become a LEED-accredited Professional.
The course, with workshops, involves participation from Penn State faculty and students, U.S. Green
Building Council representatives and instruction professionals, the Green Building Association of Central
PA, the Pennsylvania Housing Research Center, the Center for Sustainability at Penn State, and local
During the 3-hour long Monday studio classes, early in the semester, students will hear from the LEED
Course faculty team who will sponsor up to six lectures in principles of integrated system design crossing
disciplines. The U.S. Green Building council will offer three workshops - one each in early February,
March and April. Students will be required to attend these workshops, and the studio class will be
cancelled those three weeks to ensure adequate time is available to attend them. The first one is a half-day
workshop; the latter two are day-long workshops. Dates will be announced soon. The balance of the time
in class will be spent working to apply course material to the real projects.
Prof. Andy Lau will supervise the energy modeling and aid in applying the LEED program software. Prof.
Scott Wing will oversee application of LEED criteria to the design of the Endurable House. Tania
Slawecki will oversee application of LEED criteria in evaluating the constructed Penn State Living
For satisfactory completion of the course, students are expected to have attended all three USGBC
workshops and to have successfully worked in teams to provide design recommendations for the Endurable
House project and LEED-certification assessment of the Penn State Living Machine. Final presentations
will be made to the course faculty team in the last week of April.
It is expected that students who are entering the job market will pay the $250 to take the LEED-
accreditation exam. The Penn State course has defrayed most of the cost and has paved the way for
students to enter the job market with skills that are in increasing demand. It is felt that the students should
shoulder the cost of taking the exam as a personal investment in their future as design
Post-course evaluation is critical. We would like to follow students into the job market to ascertain if
obtaining LEED-accreditation or LEED training in general was useful, including monitoring 1) the number
of students from the course who become LEED-accredited; 2) the interest in LEED of companies hiring
students who graduate; 3) the value of the LEED training to the students and to the hiring companies; 4) the
starting salaries of LEED-trained students relative to their graduating peers upon entering the job market;
5) the number of job offers received by LEED vs. non-LEED graduates; 6) the interest in companies
continuing to sponsor the offering of this course.
We plan to develop an interactive website to facilitate keeping track of students who graduate from the
course, making it easy for them to update information that will be useful for us in evaluating the course and
in helping us determine whether or not to again offer it. If successful, the USGBC would like to propagate
this course at other universities.
The USGBC workshops are open to all design professionals for the normal fee. By offering the course at
Penn State, we hope that many PSU faculty will take advantage of these workshops and of this opportunity to
learn about LEED, possibly becoming LEED-accredited themselves.
We are all excited to be offering this course, and we hope that students will see what a great opportunity it is as well!