Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
ARCH 131
Course Title:
Sustainable Building Strategies
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Focuses on creating buildings that are sited, designed, constructed, operated and maintained for the health and well-being of the occupants, while minimizing impact on the environment. Prerequisites: ID 121 Prerequisite/concurrent: ARCH 224. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

This course will work towards describing a way that a building can strongly related to site, climate, local building materials, and the sun. In recent years, relying on the misconception of an infinite and inexpensive energy supply, people have chosen to abandon these long-standing considerations.   To allow for change resulting from new experiments and observation, this course looks at basic principles and six different alternative prototypes to provide information for future change.

Students who may have a disability and wish an accommodation should make arrangements to meet with the instructor outside of class to discuss specific requests.  Any request for accommodation may require that documentation of disability be reviewed by the Office for Students with Disabilities 

Intended Outcomes for the course

Ø Develop design recommendations using identified criteria, strategies, materials, and technologies that respond appropriately to climate, site conditions, and responsible use of resources.
Ø Communicate ideas and strategies to design professionals using industry specific terminology.

Course Activities and Design

Course materials will be presented in a lecture and discussion format, using multimedia presentations (slides, overheads, videos, Powerpoint), showing examples of the various sustainable structures, retrofits, and systems. These examples are applied to residential and small commercial buildings. Discussions will be supplemented by field trips to sites which display various sustainable structures and systems. Weekly assignments will provide an opportunity for student to apply class information to variety of building types, and examine their own strategies for development of sustainable buildings and systems. Class projects will provide summary and application form information covered during the term.

Outcome Assessment Strategies


·        Personal lifestyle assessment: Student develops an understanding of ones personal impact on the environment

·        Book review: Ability to identify appropriate philosophies, concepts and terminology related to sustainable buildings

·        Term paper: assessment of understanding and application of concepts to architecture and

·        Journal of observations/field: summary of information on architecture and sustainable structures.

·        Building analysis: observation and analysis of a building€™s design response to site, climate, and sun; suggestions for building€™s response to site.