Bachelor of Science in Ecological Design

Available via Distance Learning.

Units: 36
Courses: 12
Tuition: $3,600

Enroll by printable enrollment form

Montessori School by Luis Roldan
Program Two

New architectural forms, simpler construction, and humane community plans are emerging from a new ecological awareness in the world today. SFIA is leading the way in ecological design education. SFIA strives to raise awareness about ecological design and encourage the development of design programs to educate architects, consultants, advisors and faculty members who will create future programs.

Students who enroll in SFIA’s Ecological Design program do not have to be students of architecture. The program and individual courses are open to anyone seeking a career in Ecological Design or related profession as well as anyone in the design profession who wants to pursue eco- related disciplines.

This program offers an intermediate professional education in Ecological Design.

Those who qualify for this program:

  • Distance Learning students who have completed Program One
  • Students who hold a degree from a two-year degree program
  • Students who have had at least two years work experience


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