Associate of Arts & Technical Certificate in Ecological Design

Available via Distance Learning.

Units: 36
Courses: 12
Tuition: $3,600 (Learn About Financial Aid, Apply for Financial Aid)

Enroll online or by printable enrollment form

Desert Residence by Monica Haaf

Ecological Design Program One


E 101
Basic Principles of Ecological Design
3 units
This course covers the primary reasons and arguments for the rapidly expanding ecological design movement. Textbook: The Ecological Design Handbook (chapters 1-10), by Fred A. Stitt, editor

E 102
Case studies in Ecological Design
3 units
Biographical reports on the work of the original instigators and practitioners of contemporary ecological design. Textbook: Design Outlaws on the Ecological Frontier, by Chris Zelov.

E 103
Alternative Materials & Construction
3 units
This course explains what “alternative” materials are, in the context of ecological design, their characteristics and best uses. Textbook: Alternative Construction: Contemporary Natural Building Methods, by Lynne Elizabeth. Alternative textbook for those students who are mainly concerned with single-family home design: The New Natural House Book, by David Pearson

E 104
Solar Energy Systems
3 units
Solar energy has many aspects: active and passive systems, hydronic and air systems, and photovoltaic systems. This course introduces their histories and applications. Textbook: Power From the Sun: A Practical Guide to Solar Electricity, by Daniel D. Chiras

E 105
Building Energy Systems
3 units
In-depth study of the integration of land, architecture, sun, and climate. The textbook is a classic in its field: Sun, Wind and Light, by G. Z. Brown

E 106
Energy Conservation & Building Retrofit Systems
3 units
A course on the latest applications of solar energy systems, as introduced by one of the solar energy industry’s leading pioneers. Textbook: Real Goods Solar Living Source Book, by John Schaeffer, editor

E 107
Permaculture & Bioremediation
3 units
Permaculture is the most rapidly growing aspect of ecological agriculture, and bioremediation promises to revolutionize waste water and sewage treatment around the world. This course reviews permaculture as practiced and taught by the world’s leading authority on the subject. Textbook: Introduction to Permaculture, by B. C. Mollison

E 108
Landscape Architecture & Plantscaping
3 units
Landscaping used to be an arbitrary exercise in “arranging” flowers and shrubs. Now it has taken on a new life as a major part of the ecological design movement. This course reviews the essentials of natural landscaping and why they are so important. Textbook: Energy-Efficient and Environmental Landscaping,
by Anne Simon Moffat and Marc Schiler

E 109
Pattern in Nature
3 units
The greatest buildings of all times are designed according to nature-based principles of proportion and composition. This course explains the natural origins and geometries of aesthetics in architecture. Textbook: The Self-Made Tapestry: Pattern Formation in Nature, by Philip Ball Note: Students may take substitute courses in Program One. You can choose up to three of the elective courses listed below under Program Two as substitutes for any courses listed in Program One.

E 110 – E112

Please choose three elective courses from Ecological Design Program Two listed below:

E 201
Advanced Principles of Ecological Design
3 units

This course reviews the many technologies of ecological design and how to integrate them to get the best results. Textbook: Design for Sustainability: A Sourcebook of Integrated, Eco-logical Solutions,
by Janis Birkeland

E 202
Case studies in Ecological Design and Bioclimatic Architecture
3 units

Buildings of all sizes and types are now being reconsidered in terms of how they provide natural air flow, daylighting, solar heating, and other natural means of meeting human needs. This course reviews the possibilities, with many case study examples. Textbook: Big and Green: Toward Sustainable Architecture
in the 21st Century, by David Gissen. Students who want to focus on residential or other small-scale projects can use the optional textbook below: Green by Design: Creating a Home for Sustainable Living,
by Angela Dean

E 203
Alternative Materials, Construction, and   Engineering
3 units

Old and new materials are being produced and used in new, nature-sensitive ways, and they’re greatly enlarging the choices available to designers. This course describes materials, their characteristics, and how to use them intelligently, economically, and safely. Textbook: The Alternative Building Sourcebook: Traditional, Natural and Sustainable Building Products and Services, by Steve K. Chappell, et al. Students who want to focus on residential or other small-scale projects can use this optional textbook: Buildings of Earth and Straw: Structural Design for Rammed Earth and Straw Bale Architecture, by Bruce King

E 204
Solar Energy and Wind Systems
3 units

This course deals with the options of alternative energy systems and how to make the right choice for each design situation. Textbook: Power With Nature: Solar and Wind Energy Demystified, by Rex A. Ewing

E 205
Building Lighting Systems
3 units

Well-designed daylighting saves enormous amounts of energy and improves the well-being of building occupants. This course covers the basics. Textbook: Concepts and Practice of Architectural Daylighting, by Fuller Moore

E 206
Indoor Air Quality
3 units

When city indoor air pollution reaches levels six times that of outdoor pollution, we know we have a problem. This course deals with the problems and the solutions. Textbook:Indoor Environmental Quality, by Thad Godish

E 207
Advanced Permaculture & Bioremediation
3 units

This course, based on the work of pioneers Jack and Nancy Todd, deals with the origins of alternative waste systems that promise to revolutionize sewage treatment. Textbook: From Eco-Cities to Living Machines, by Nancy and Jack Todd

E 208
Site Analysis
3 units

Buildings and communities begin with their sites. If sites are poorly chosen and improperly modified or managed, the problems go on forever. This course shows how to avoid the worst problems and work with the land as the starting point and essential component of all construction. Textbook: Site Analysis: Linking Program and Concept in Land Planning and Design, by James A. LaGro

E 209
Patterns of Organic Architecture
3 units

This course focuses on the source of 20th Century organic and ecological architecture and how it achieved its finest expression in the work of Frank Lloyd Wright. Textbooks: A Testament, and An American Architecture, by Frank Lloyd Wright by Frank Lloyd Wright

E 210
Underground & Earth-Sheltered Construction
3 units

This course shows a way to build that minimizes visual impact on the land, provides natural insulation and protection, and creates comfortable and economical environments. Textbooks: Gentle Architecture (for a general overview), by Malcolm Wells and Recovering America: A More Gentle Way to Build, by Malcolm Wells or Underground Building Design: Commercial and Institutional Structures by John Carmody and Raymond Sterling

E 211
Ecological Land Planning & Real Estate Development
3 units

A new generation of real estate developers is looking for ways to enhance the environment for human needs in new or remodeled construction. This course reviews much of the best thinking in the field. Textbook: Green Development: Integrating Ecology and Real Estate, by Alex Wilson, et al

E 212
Recycled Construction Materials
3 units

Recycling in construction is relatively new, and the theories and practices are still a work in progress. This course provides the best of the current state of the art and its implications for the future of materials manufacture and use on the construction site. Textbook: Ecology of Building Materials, by Bjorn Berge and Filip Henley

E 213
Buckminster Fuller’s Design & Construction Methods
3 units

This course provides insight into the thinking of one of the most creative and prolific architectural and engineering thinkers of the 20th century. Textbook: Bucky Works: Buckminster Fuller’s Ideas for Today,
by J. Baldwin

E 214
Wind Energy Systems
3 units

Wind isn’t free, but in some locations it’s the most reliable source of alternative energy. This course provides the basics in small wind energy systems for single buildings. Textbook: Wind Energy Basics: A Guide to Small and Micro Wind Systems, by Paul Gipe and Karen Perenz

E 215
Energy-Saving Retrofit Systems
3 units

The greatest opportunities for energy savings and environmental improvement can be found in our enormous stock of existing buildings. This course covers the best of current retrofit design and technology. Textbook: Retrofitting for Energy Conservation, by William H. Clark

E 216
Toxic Materials and Healthy Environments
3 units

Air quality is one issue, but current construction practices use large numbers and combinations of toxic materials. This course describes how to prevent the toxins and design buildings that can actually enhance human health. Textbook: Staying Well in a Toxic World: Understanding Environmental Illness, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, Chemical Injuries, and Sick Building Syndrome, by Lynn Lawson. Alternative textbook for students who want to focus on residential or other small-scale projects: The Healthy House: How to Buy One, How to Build One, How to Cure a Sick One, by John Bower