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Colby-Sawyer College Offers Certificate Program in Sustainable Design and Construction

NEW LONDON, N.H., July 15, 2012 – Beginning this fall, Colby-Sawyer College will offer a unique opportunity for students of any age to learn all aspects of the design and construction of sustainable shelters.

In three courses – Shelter and Sustainability, The Living Building, and Project Completion – students will design and construct a sustainable passive solar classroom using timber frame construction and natural materials. Course topics will include building science and performance, design process, sustainable materials, construction planning and timber frame construction techniques. Those who pass all three courses will qualify for the Certificate in Sustainable Design and Construction.

The students will design and build a new classroom on campus that will be completed in the summer of 2013, in support of the college's strategic theme of Living Sustainably. The experience of designing and creating a beautiful and unique sustainable building will teach students about the techniques, systems and materials they will need to create their own sustainable structures.

In a program that blends the classroom with the job site, the students and instructors will collectively create a living classroom. The courses will explore passive solar design, rubble trench foundation, designing with natural materials, rainwater collection, and traditional timber frame design and joinery. Students will also investigate straw bale walls, super-insulated roof systems, natural plasters, cob and cordwood construction and solar photovoltaic technology.

The first course, Shelter and Sustainability, offered from September to December 2012, will cover the principles of sustainability and the built environment, site assessment, personal and planetary health, and sourcing of appropriate technologies and materials. The course will also explore building science and performance, consensus decision-making, green and natural building, administrative and aesthetic design processes, designing with renewable energy, and opportunities for community education. The cost is $1,500.

The second course, The Living Building, is offered in the spring semester, from January to May 2013, and will include construction planning, worker and worksite safety, timber framing with native wood and lumber, straw bale and slip straw wall systems, and natural plasters. The cost of this course is $2,000.

The third course, Project Completion, offered in summer 2013, will involve design implementation and construction, engaging the community, finish work, landscaping, and will conclude with a celebration of the project. The cost of this course is $1,000.

The program, both in the classroom and on the job site, will be led by Steve Whitman and Bryan Felice. A professional planner with Jeffrey H. Taylor & Associates, Steve Whitman focuses on community planning and sustainability issues through the lens of natural systems-thinking and ecology. Whitman is both a local and international educator and adjunct faculty at Plymouth State University, where he teaches environmental and community planning, permaculture, and sustainability. Whitman's teaching is informed by the experience of converting his in-town lot into a living permaculture model, as well as time spent at sustainable project sites in the U.S. and abroad. He participates in a wide range of creative, grassroots projects that promote new forms of sustainability.

Felice, founding owner of Undustrial Timber Frames, has been involved in the design and construction of sustainable buildings since 2000 and brings his expertise in building design and practical experience to the program. He has worked in various capacities in the environment field including leading semester long field studies programs at Antioch College and has developed and led international programs in Cuba and Mexico for undergraduate and graduate students. Felice is an adjunct faculty member at Plymouth State University. He is also a member of the Board of Directors at D Acres, and educational Permaculture farm in Dorchester, N.H.

The total cost of the Certificate in Sustainable Design and Construction is $4,500. Participants may also register for just one or two of the courses and receive a certificate of completion for each course (but will not qualify for the Sustainable Design and Construction Certificate).

The deadline for registration for the first course is August 22, 2012. To register contact Tracey Perkins at (603) 526 -3702 or

To learn more about the courses and certificate program visit

-Cynthia Driver

Cynthia Driver is an English major and writing intern for the Colby-Sawyer College Communications Office.

Colby-Sawyer College is a comprehensive college that integrates the liberal arts and sciences with professional preparation. Founded in 1837, Colby-Sawyer is located in the scenic Lake Sunapee Region of central New Hampshire.

Colby-Sawyer College, 541 Main Street, New London, N.H. 03257 (603) 526-3000