6-hour Successful Building Design and Technological Innovation Course Syllabus

This course can be completed for continuing education in the following states and national associations:

  MA Continuing Education
Successful Building Design
and Technological Innovations 

Course Description

Developers of commercial, industrial and institutional buildings are driven by return on investment. Today’s building owners are savvy and they seek to balance the initial cost with the payback. Functionality, aesthetics, and methods of code compliance are each guided by financial investment and return. In this course, you will learn, from the foundation to the roof, from the appearance to the operation, from construction to maintenance, tried and proven methods for analyzing design decisions that will lead you to a greater reputation.

As technological innovation creates new construction possibilities, incorporating energy-efficiency into building projects can not only provide a better quality of life but also protect the environment.  However, energy efficient building requirements can be stringent and cost prohibitive. It is a challenge to provide customers with the latest energy efficient systems–all within a budget that homeowners are willing to provide.  This course will help industry professionals identify important considerations and then apply those principles to a specific project.

In this 6 hour, fully narrated and video course, you will learn to navigate your entire team through the challenges and pitfalls of site development, all the time with an eye toward technological innovation.

After completing this course, participants will be able to:

  • Be able to integrate design concepts with current codes and regulations.
  • Translate the intentions and goals of the customer into a safe and cost effective project.
  • Accurately define energy conservation and generation concepts, and describe at least three efficient use of materials that will save building and operation costs.
  • Outline at least one application of energy efficient design in indoor systems.

Course Syllabus


Lesson 1

1. Defining the Building Type
2. Initial Building Program
3. Initial Construction Budget
4. Ideal Building Size
5. Establishing the Construction Classification
6. Code Analysis


Lesson 2

1. Site Evaluation
2. Reality Check
3. Building Concept
4. Selecting Consultants
5. Defining the Structural System
6. Selecting the Best Foundation System


Lesson 3

1. Creating an Envelope
2. Laying out the Floor Plate
3. Dealership Videos


Lesson 4

1. Specialty Functions
2. HVAC Systems
3. Plumbing Systems
4.  Electrical
5. Selecting Your Materials


Lesson 5

1. Specialty Materials
2. Specialty Design Services



Lesson One

1.  Energy Consumption

A.  Energy
B.  Resources
C.  Building Systems

2.  Energy Conservation

A.  Reduced consumption, emissions
B.  Energy Efficiency Standards and Methods

3.  Diagnostic Testing

A.  Thermal Imaging
B.  Blower Door Testing

Lesson Two

1.  Advanced Framing Techniques

A.  2 x 6 studs
B.  Headers
C.  Raised Heel Trusses

2.  Raised Heel Trusses

A.  Full height insulation
B.  Cost efficient

3.  Double 2 x 4 Walls

A.  Thicker insulation
B.  Drawbacks

4.  Prefabricated Walls

A.  Reduced waste
B.  Higher quality

Lesson Three

1.  Design and Implementation of Energy Efficient Design

A.  Design phase
B.  Subs and employees
C.  Training

2.  Air Sealing

A.  Finding leaks
B.  Materials

3.  Airtight Drywall

A.  Methods
B.  Drawbacks

4.  Prefabricated Walls

A.  Reduced waste
B.  Higher quality
C.  SIPs
D.  ICFs


Lesson Four

1.  Fiberglass Batts

A.  Uses
B.  Various configurations: high density, standard density
C.  Installation

2.  Cellulose Insulation

A.  Uses
B.  Various configurations: dense packed, dry spray

3.  Roof Installation

A.  Methods
B.  Baffles


Lesson Five

1.  Spray Foam

A.  Urea Formaldehyde
B.  Cementitious
C.  Phenolic
D.  Polyisocyanurate or polyiso
E.  Polyurethane

2.  Various configurations

A.  Open cell, Closed cell

3.  Insulating Sheathing

A.  Uses
B.  Examples: expanded, extruded


Lesson Six

1.  Radiant Barrier Sheathing

A.  Benefits
B.  Heat Transfer
C.  Types

2.  Window selection

C.  Low-E coatings
D.  Inert gas
E. Visible Transmittance
F.  Air Infiltration Rate

3.  U-Factor/R-Value

A.  Definitions/Conversions


Lesson Seven

1.  Incandescent Lighting

A.  Benefits/Flaws

2.  Compact Fluorescent Lighting

A.  Benefits/Flaws

3.  Light Emitting Diodes

A.  Benefits/Flaws

4.  Duct Design

A.  Best Practices
B.  Duct Sealing
C.  Installation
D.  Common Problems


Lesson Eight

1.  Energy Guide Labels

A.  What does it all mean?

2.  Energy Recovery Ventilation

A.  Benefits/Costs

3.  Sealed Combustion Heating Appliances

A.  Description
B.  Benefits

4.  Water Heaters

A.  Standard tank
B.  Condensing
C.  Tankless
D.  Common Problems

5.  Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)


  • Credit(s) earned on completion of this course will be reported to AIA CES for AIA members.  Certificates of Completion for both AIA members and non-AIA members are available to print upon completion of the course.
  • This course is registered with AIA CES for continuing professional education.  As such, it does not include content that may be deemed or construed to be an approval or endorsement by the AIA or any material of construction or any method or manner of handling, using, distributing, or dealing in any material or product.
  • Course instructors will be available by email or telephone between 9am and 5pm Eastern Standard Time. They will assist you with questions regarding course content.