A focus on energy efficiency has led to widespread improvements in structural building materials. With an abundance of information and competing environmental claims, determining a material’s true impacts is a challenge.

This course examines materials throughout their life cycles and focuses on international research supporting the use of wood while considering some advantages of concrete and steel; it also touches on efforts of all three industries to lessen environmental impacts.

Learning Objectives

  • Compare the life cycle impacts of common building materials, from the extraction or harvest of raw materials through end-of-life disposal or recycling/reuse
  • Articulate the influence of wood on operational energy efficiency
  • Consider a growing body of research on the impacts of visual wood on occupant health and well-being
  • Discuss design considerations related to a building’s safety, resilience, and long-term durability