Sustainable Building Systems


Sara Wadia-Fascetti, PhD
Associate Dean for Graduate Education, Graduate School of Engineering

130 Snell Engineering Center

The sustainable building systems program focuses on the design and operation of buildings to provide a comfortable, healthy, and productive indoor environment with minimal energy and environmental impact. Students have an opportunity to develop leadership and decision-making skills to implement sustainable building practices in either the private or public sectors in the global market.

The graduates of the Master of Science in Sustainable Building Systems program should display a high level of engineering knowledge in a broad range of architectural engineering, civil engineering, and construction management while embracing the concepts of engineering sustainability as related to energy and materials usage and the effects on the environment. Graduates will have the base training necessary to lead efforts within companies to plan and implement sustainable practices for the design and operation of buildings, realize energy and materials efficiency improvements, and minimize environmental impact. Upon graduation, students will have a theoretical background to the concepts behind the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Associate examination.

Master's Degree in Sustainable Building Systems

Sample Curriculum

Below is a typical course sequence for graduation in two semesters.

ARCH 52104ARCH 5220 (or elective)4
CIVE 7220 (or elective)4CIVE 5270 (or elective)4
CIVE 7230 (or elective)4SBSY 52004
SBSY 51004SBSY 5300 (or elective)4
 16 16
Total Hours: 32

The program is flexible to accommodate full-time students—who wish to proceed over a period of two to four semesters—and part-time students—who can complete the program requirements by taking one to two courses per semester, finishing the program in approximately four years.

Graduate Certificate Options

Students enrolled in a master's degree in Sustainable Building Systems have the opportunity to also pursue one of 14 engineering graduate certificate options in addition to or in combination with the MS degree. Students should consult their faculty advisor regarding these options.

Gordon Institute of Engineering Leadership Option

Students have the opportunity to pursue the Gordon Engineering leadership program in combination with the MS degree.

Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Energy Systems

The Sustainable Energy Systems Graduate Certificate program focuses on the integration of energy systems engineering technology with sustainable building systems including the design and operation of buildings with minimal energy and environment impact.

This four-course graduate certificate seeks to provide students opportunities to apply the fundamentals of engineering knowledge and skills to analyze energy systems as they relate to sustainable engineering building design with a focus on renewable energy with LEED certification or with a focus on industrial ecology including life cycle analysis and technical cost modeling. The program requires 16 semester hours of course work from your choice of courses—see details

Master of Science in Sustainable Building Systems (MSSBS)

Graduate Certificate

Sustainable Building Systems Courses

SBSY 5100. Sustainable Design and Technologies in Construction. 4 Hours.

Covers theory of sustainability and green building procedures; sustainable design and construction practices; use of appropriate materials and systems with low environmental impact for creating energy-efficient buildings; green construction practices, including reducing pollution, emissions, and construction waste; and U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating system. May be helpful to students preparing for the LEED Green Associate examination. Prereq. Junior, senior, or graduate standing; engineering students only.

SBSY 5200. Sustainable Engineering Systems for Buildings. 4 Hours.

Focuses on basic design and construction of mechanical/electrical/plumbing (MEP) systems in buildings. Covers MEP documentation, plumbing water supply, HVAC systems, electrical power supply and distribution, lighting systems, low-voltage electrical systems, and estimating and planning for these specialty areas. Also addresses sustainable design and construction practices for MEP, including minimization of energy consumption and carbon footprint. Prereq. Junior, senior, or graduate standing; engineering students only.

SBSY 5300. Information Systems for Integrated Project Delivery. 4 Hours.

Focuses on new software systems for increasing efficiency of project delivery and facilitating design and construction integration through the use of BIM (Building Information Modeling) and related technologies. Exposes students to various software systems, including hands-on cases of BIM use, 4D (construction drawings linked to schedule) modeling, and 5D models (4D + cost). Covers the impact of new technology on project delivery, including owner’s perspective, advantages, and disadvantages. Also covers use and background of common industry systems to apply BIM concepts to construction projects. Prereq. Junior, senior, or graduate standing; engineering students only.

SBSY 5400. Sustainable Building Systems Seminar. 0 Hours.

Features prominent speakers from the sustainable building design and construction industry to showcase new building technologies, tools, and projects and to discuss national and international trends in the industry. Offers students an opportunity to meet innovators and key players advancing the field of sustainable building systems. Prereq. Junior, senior, or graduate standing.