COURSE NAME: Architectural Design I & II

INSTRUCTOR:   Shigehiro Shishido


Design Project:               Design a Sustainable House


A family has purchased a parcel of land in Upstate New York at a lakeside.  The area is known for its year round beauty and tranquility. On the East and West sides of the property are vacant lots that are zoned for residential. Local zoning requires a set back of ten feet from the access road and a fifteen-foot set back from the adjoining lots.  The family consists of a couple with two children, a boy and a girl, and two dogs. 


Program Requirement:


§         Entry                                                                                  200 SF

§         Living Room with a fireplace,                                                 500 SF

§         Dining Room                                                                        200 SF

§         Kitchen                                                                               300 SF

§         Breakfast area                                                                     100 SF

§         Master bedroom with full bath and dressing area                     400 SF

§         Two Children's bedrooms with full bath                                   500 SF

§         Guest Room with full bath                                                     350 SF

§         Family Room                                                                       300 SF

§         Powder Room                                                                      As required

§         Laundry Room                                                                     150 SF

§         Closets                                                                               As required

§         Utility Room                                                                        150 SF

§         Two Car Garage with a storage space                                    650 SF

§         Decks                                                                                 As Required


Required Presentation:


Rendered site plan with roof                                                        scale 1/8

Rendered floor plan(s)                                                                 scale 1/8

Two rendered elevations                                                              scale 1/8

Rendered Building/Site section                                                    scale 1/8

Details, diagrams, sketches, etc. showing your building system of sustainability.

A scaled model including site and/or 3D renderings.



An objective of this project is to design sustainable buildings. Research on “Sustainable Buildings” is required. Solar related heating and/or cooling system is required in your design.


Related Information


Passive Solar Design US Dept of Energy Sustainable Buildings Sustainable Architecture



The following is an excerpt from US Department of Energy, Green Buildings Program.

Green Buildings Introduction

The design, construction, and maintenance of buildings has a tremendous impact on our environment and our natural resources.  There are more than 76 million residential buildings and nearly 5 million commercial buildings in the U.S. today.  These buildings together use one-third of all the energy consumed in the U.S., and two-thirds of all electricity.  By the year 2010, another 38 million buildings are expected to be constructed.  The challenge will be to build them smart, so they use a minimum of nonrenewable energy, produce a minimum of pollution, and cost a minimum of energy dollars, while increasing the comfort, health, and safety of the people who live and work in them. 

Further, buildings are a major source of the pollution that causes urban air quality problems, and the pollutants that cause climate change.  They account for 49 percent of sulfur dioxide emissions, 25 percent of nitrous oxide emissions, and 10 percent of particulate emissions, all of which damage urban air quality.  Buildings produce 35 percent of our carbon dioxide emissions, the chief pollutant blamed for climate change. 

Traditional building practices often overlook the interrelationships between a building, its components, its surroundings, and its occupants. "Typical" buildings consume more of our resources than necessary, negatively impact the environment, and generate a large amount of waste. According to Laurence Doxsey, former Coordinator of the City of Austin Green Builder Program, "a standard wood-framed home consumes over one acre of forest and the waste created during construction averages from 3 to 7 tons."  Often, these buildings are costly to operate in terms of energy and water consumption.  And they can result in poor indoor air quality, which can lead to health problems.   

There are many opportunities to make buildings cleaner.  For example, if only 10 percent of homes in the U.S. used solar water-heating systems, we would avoid 8.4 million metric tons of carbon emissions each year.  

Green building practices offer an opportunity to create environmentally-sound and resource-efficient buildings by using an integrated approach to design. Green buildings promote resource conservation, including energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation features; consider environmental impacts and waste minimization; create a healthy and comfortable environment; reduce operation and maintenance costs; and address issues such as historical preservation, access to public transportation and other community infrastructure systems. The entire life-cycle of the building and its components is considered, as well as the economic and environmental impact and performance.

Green Building Principles

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Resources   Commercially available, cost-effective energy technologies could reduce overall energy consumption in the United States by as much as one-third--worth some $343 billion. 
This link provides information on strategies such as proper siting and airtight construction, as well as installing energy-efficient equipment and appliances and renewable energy systems will reduce the amount of energy your building needs to operate and to keep its occupants comfortable.

Environmental Impact 
The built environment has had a tremendous impact on the environment. However, your building can interact more positively with the environment if you pay special attention to preserving the site’s integrity and natural characteristics, landscaping appropriately, and selecting materials that have lower embodied energy and those that are produced locally. 

Resource Conservation  
Conserving resources is a cornerstone of green building techniques.  There are many ways to conserve resources during the building process.  For example, selecting materials that have at least some recycled content can conserve natural resources and virgin materials.   Minimizing construction waste can ease the impact on landfills.  Installing water- and energy-efficient products can conserve resources while reducing operating costs.  Choosing a green (plant-covered) roof can reduce energy use and prevent stormwater runoff, as well as contributing to wildlife habitat and air quality.

Indoor Air Quality  
Energy-efficient buildings are more airtight and therefore hold greater potential for indoor air quality problems. Because many building products can contribute to poor air quality, you can reduce these potential problems by selecting materials lower in chemicals and toxins, and installing mechanical ventilation systems to ensure an adequate fresh air supply. 

Community Issues  
Placing green building projects within easy access of public transportation, medical facilities, shopping areas, and recreational facilities decreases the need for automobiles and encourages bicycling and walking. In addition, successful green buildings blend into the community, preserving natural and historical characteristics, and will utilize existing infrastructure in order to reduce sprawl.