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Practice : Fall 2008
Sustainable Design's Global Reach From Seattle to Toronto to the Gulf Coast to New England--- the BAC is expanding its green, global reach. NEWSWORTHY ] SUSTAINABLE DESIGN'S GLOBAL REACH Alex Wilson works in Brattleboro, Vermont at BuildingGreen. His background is actually not in architecture, but in biology. Knowledge of both has brought him to the forefront of sustainable design, which is inherently an integrated design approach that involves multiple disciplines. By day, he has editorial meetings; meets with local businesses to examine sustainable, economic growth in the area; and holds conference calls with the USGBC Research Committee to review research proposals. By night, he instructs "Sustain- able Design as a Way of inking," a BAC course from his home laptop. e BAC's Sustainable Design Certi cate Program is a series of eight-week courses that deal with sustainability issues. e program was rst o ered by the BAC's Continuing Education Department in . Two years later, the department decided, considering the signi cance of sustainability in design education, to launch a complete online version of the certi cate. Presently, many of the online sustainable design courses have been approved by the USGBC's Education Providers Program. e online courses and certi - cate program were developed in partnership with BuildingGreen, Inc. (BGI), a publishing company based in Brattleboro, Vermont, which over the years has become one of the most trusted sources of unbiased information for building industry professionals concerned with environmental performance. Wilson, Nadav Malin and Peter Yost of BGI have been close advisors and co-developers of the certi cate program and the online courses, ensuring that the BAC is listening to, and e ectively answering, the demand for education on the current sustain- able building issues. " is model is ideally suited to online instruction, which is where a big part of the future of professional education lies," says Wilson. "BuildingGreen's partnership with the BAC has been ideal on many levels, and we look forward to the growth of this program." Few programs exist that provide a solid background in green design, and even fewer are available entirely online. e BAC's sustainability courses are an ideal way of distributing valuable education to professionals and green building enthusiasts at any location in the U.S, as well as to international audiences. Over the last four years, the community of online students in this program has grown to at least one hundred and fty students per semester, participating in the courses from various locations in the U.S. as well as from other countries (mainly from South America and Europe). "One thing that's particularly satisfying about the online instruction at the BAC is that the learning can happen at a time that ts each participant's availability--- and across time zones," says Wilson. "I had a student, for example, who was stationed in Iraq and trying to lay the groundwork for a new career when he returned to the States; there's no way he would have been able to participate in a regular course. "His contributions to the discussions addressing the 'sustain- ability' of our military operations in Iraq were fascinating---and great contributions to our online discussions." e Sustainable Design program is addressing a rapidly growing trend, in a rapidly changing world. To maintain a global perspective, the BAC keeps a prominent presence within organizations and communities concerned with sustainability. Last year Anna Stefanidou, Director of Online Education, exhibited in a number of national and international conferences such as Building Energy (Boston), West Coast Green (San Francisco), Greening the Heartland (Madison), and GreenBuild (Chicago). She has also presented an academic paper focused on the BAC's online educational programs at the International Conference for Open and Distance Learning in Athens, Greece. GLOBAL REACH PRACTICE 17