Master of Science in Green Building

Available via Distance Learning only.

Units: 51
Courses: 16
Tuition: $4,800 (Learn About Financial Aid, Apply for Financial Aid)

Enroll online or by printable enrollment form.

David Waldorf
Image courtesy of Geoff Holton, GHA Design.
Geoff Holton designed this house, and SFIA alum David Waldorf was the project manager.

Master of Science in Green Building Program Overview

Reach the highest level of green building expertise with a fast-track distance learning Master Degree Program. Green building specialist skills are needed throughout the business world, including nonprofits and government agencies, the construction and building development industries, and the design professions. This program fills a vital need in the design professions, and it can put you at the heart of the nation’s new, dominant, long-term growth industry.

The USGBC’s LEED program has made history and will continue to do so, as thousands of buildings, public and private, in every city, will be required to be green certified. This will be one of the few bright spots in the economy in the next few years. As effective as LEED is, it doesn’t pretend to convey expertise in all aspects of green building and sustainable design. That’s left to the schools, but so far such education has been hard to find.

Now you can gain that expertise with the convenience and low cost of study-at-home distance learning.You can start and finish courses at any time, completely self paced. Graduates who qualify at the highest grade levels will be listed on a new National Register of Certified Green Building Design Professionals.

Our school, SFIA, has been teaching green building and ecological design for eighteen years as a wholly integrated part of its architecture degree programs. As a registered provider of the American Institute of Architects, SFIA has provided distance learning courses to over 5,000 architects nationwide.

Now we offer the new, radically efficient, effective, low-cost, 16-course Master of Science in Green Building degree. It’s fast track, no frills, no visits to a campus, and no tedious registration process. You will receive an education fully comparable, and most likely superior to that from any other institution of higher learning. With dedicated study time of an hour a day and five hours on weekends, you can complete the program in less than a year.

Your studies will qualify you for design planning, consulting, administrative, and/or teaching positions in green building related professions. And it will add new, higher-level recognition of your expertise as a green building professional.

You are responsible for purchasing textbooks from your preferred book service. Book prices range from $20 to $80, average cost $40. The program is textbook based, using the finest books in the field. You probably will, and certainly should read these books anyway, as part of your regular professional continuing education.

A Four Track Curriculum – 16 courses total

  • Advanced Green Building Design and Planning
  • Green Building Materials and Construction
  • Green Building Energy and Environment
  • Green Building Design Management

Advanced Green Building Design and Planning


Past, Present & Future of the Green Building Movement
MSGB 301, 3 units

The green building revolution is happening right now. This course covers the basics of green building and explores the projects and people that are advancing this movement. Learn why and how to design, build and operate high performance, environmentally aware, LEED-certified buildings on conventional budgets.

The Green Building Revolution, by Jerry Yudelson and S. Richard Fedrizzi

Green Building Through Integrated Design
MSGB 302, 3 units

This course covers the entire process of building a certified green building from concept to design to construction. Learn how to construct high-performance buildings on time and within budget. Examine relevant issues, difficult challenges, and problem-solving techniques

Green Building Through Integrated Design, by Jerry Yudelson

Advanced Practices in Ecological Design & Green Building Certification
MSGB 303, 3 units

This course examines integrated systems design thinking by many of the foremost designers in the field. Covers applications in industrial design, materials, housing design, urban planning and transport, landscape and agriculture, and energy and resource use.

Design for Sustainability: A Sourcebook of Integrated, Ecological Solutions, by Janis Birkeland

Site Analysis
MSGB 304, 3 units

This course explores the process of evaluating the use of land for institutional and residential development with special attention to the critical needs of a potential developer and the realities of the site.

Site Analysis: A Contextual Approach to Sustainable Land Planning and Site Design, by James A. LaGro

Green Building Materials and Construction


Cost & Energy Saving Materials
MSGB 305, 3 units

This course covers alternative, natural and sustainable building materials including strawbale, cob, clay infill, log building, thatch and timber framing.

Building Green: A Complete How-To Guide to Alternative Building Methods by Clarke Snell and Tim Callahan or

Alternative Construction: Contemporary Natural Building Methods by Cassandra Adams

Recycling & Construction Ecology
MSGB 306, 3 units

This course is a comprehensive look at the ecology of building. Topics include using raw materials from renewable sources and the possibilities of designing and manufacturing reusable building materials. Alternatives to modern building materials are discussed from an ecological perspective including replacing damaging chemicals with environmentally friendly ones.

Ecology of Building Materials, by Bjorn Berge and Filip Henle

Interior & Exterior Plantscaping
MSGB 307, 3 units

This course is an introduction to the principles, methods, and techniques that can be used to shape landscape, land use, and natural resources in an ecologically sensitive and sustainable manner.

Design for Human Ecosystems: Landscape, Land Use, and Natural Resources, by John Tillman Lyle and Joan Woodward

Toxic & Nontoxic Materials
MSGB 308, 3 units

This course examines how the toxicity of common chemicals in products as diverse as carpeting, computers, and cosmetics affects our health and how decreasing exposure to certain chemicals can improve health.

Staying Well in a Toxic World: Understanding Environmental Illness, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, Chemical Injuries, and Sick Building Syndrome, by Lynn Lawson or

My Office is Killing Me!: The Sick Building Survival Guide, by Jeffrey C. May

Green Building Energy and Environment


Solar & Wind Energy for Buildings
MSGB 309, 3 units

This course looks at exciting ways in which solar-oriented architecture can lead to energy-conscious buildings. Topics include sustainable ecosystems, wind patterns, ocean currents, fossil fuels and the life cycles of animals.

Power From the Sun: A Practical Guide to Solar Electricity, by Daniel D. Chiras

Energy Savings & Retrofit
MSGB 310, 3 units

This course is an indepth look into remodeling and retrofitting for energy-conservation needs and code requirements, covering all four major areas of retrofit: electrical, HVAC, architectural, and control. Included are proven methods for retrofitting glass, walls, roofs, floors, humidity control devices, lighting fixtures, motors, attic insulation, air handlers, sensors and much more.

Retrofitting for Energy Conservation, by William H. Clark or

Greening Existing Buildings, by Jerry Yudelson

Air Quality, Water Treatment & Waste Management
MSGB 311, 3 units

This course looks at the problems of indoor environmental pollution and covers all the major indoor contaminants – inorganic, organic, and biological.

Indoor Environmental Quality, by Thad Godish

Lighting & Daylighting
MSGB 312, 3 units

This course provides students with the necessary conceptual framework and analytical tools to integrate daylighting into building design at the earliest stages.

Concepts and Practice of Architectural Daylighting, by Fuller Moore or

Daylighting, Architecture and Health: Building Design Strategies, by Mohamed Boubekri

Green Building Design Management


The Green Building Bottom Line
MSGB 313, 3 units

What are the real costs and real benefits of building green? This course provides the insights and data that demonstrate the true costs and benefits of building green.

The Green Building Bottom Line, The Real Cost of Sustainable Building, by Martin Melaver and Phyllis Mueller

Ecological Land Planning & Real Estate Development
MSGB 314, 3 units

In this course environmental considerations are viewed as opportunities to create fundamentally better buildings and communities; more comfortable, more efficient, more appealing, and ultimately more profitable.

Green Development: Integrating Ecology and Real Estate, by Alex Wilson, et al

Planning & Managing the Green Design Office
MSGB 315, 3 units

This course systematically examines the important market segments for green buildings and presents key business case justifications for green buildings that help architects, engineers and builders to understand client motivations and respond to them with appropriate marketing tactics and communications strategies.

Marketing Green Building Services: Strategies for Success, by Jerry Yudelson


Student Thesis: Green Building Consulting & Design Practice
MSGB 316, 6 units

Thesis work requires a 15-30 page working plan for your future work in this field.