Announcements, Lectures and Events


SSU School of Extended Education and the Environmental Studies and Planning Department are pleased to offer the following updated and combined Certificate:

Sustainable Development and Green Building - in the Age of Climate Change

This updated certificate program focuses on how intelligent land use, green building practices, sustainable design and innovative technology combine to dramatically reduce fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Drawing from best practices in Northern California and worldwide, this newly consolidated six class certificate provides a comprehensive understanding of healthy, energy efficient sustainable development practices. Detailed instructions are also presented on how to comply with green codes, prepare climate action plans and fund sustainable community strategies.

Designed with working professionals, career changers, and adult students in mind, the entire certificate can be completed within a four-month period. Classes are held on campus in the acclaimed Environmental Technology Center. Each individual one-day course is open for enrollment without any requirement to complete the full certificate program. This certificate's focus on the built environment complements courses offered in the Sustainable Landscape Certificate.

Each course has been approved for seven American Institute of Certified Planners' Certificate Maintenance Credits. Members of the Redwood Empire Chapter of the US Green Building Council or Build it Green are eligible to receive a 10% discount in registration fees. Students who successfully complete this certificate program are also eligible to take Build It Green's Certified Green Building Professional test.

Sustainability and Green Building: What You Need to Know

This course provides a comprehensive overview of the "sustainability revolution" that is beginning to affect all levels of government and business. Starting with a review of ecological footprints and greenhouse gas emission levels - the link between consumption, overreliance on fossil fuels, sprawling land use patterns, inefficient construction practices and the emerging climate crisis is carefully documented. Core ecological concepts are presented including site assessment and water conserving techniques. Sustainable development policies, green building techniques and applicable rating systems are summarized as part of an integrated "suite" of strategies that provide environmental, financial and social co-benefits. Best practices from here in California and around the world are highlighted.

Mainstreaming Sustainability: Plans, Codes and Urban Design

This course focuses on how to make sustainable development and green building practices "business as usual" through adoption and implementation of plans, codes and urban design tools. Successful city planning techniques, such as Form-based Codes and LEED-ND, further illustrate how contemporary communities can be planned and built to dramatically reduce energy use - and increase our health and enjoyment of public spaces. Local examples and a field trip are provided along with other tools to help communities become greener and more energy efficient.

Building Performance, Efficiency and Renewables: A Path to Energy Independence

This course focuses on energy as the essential core for understanding sustainable development, green building and climate change. Starting with a basic understanding of the science involved, energy considerations in LEED, Green Point Rated, Cal Green, Net Zero Energy and Passive House construction are all carefully examined along with leading edge best practices. We also tour the Environmental Technology Center and look closely at its bio-climatic design, passive solar design, thermal mass, energy-efficient lightning, peel and paste photovoltaic system and other techniques.

Preparing and Enacting Climate Action and Energy Plans

With the passage of California's landmark Global Warming Solutions Act in 2006, planning for sustainable development is undergoing a rapid transformation. State and regional requirements now call for incorporating climate action planning into either local general plans or stand-alone documents - as well as in the environmental review of applicable development projects. This class provides detailed instructions on preparing and enacting Climate Action Plans. As extreme weather events are already occurring more frequently, updated adaptation and resiliency strategies are also highlighted.

Materials and Indoor Environmental Quality

Careful choices are necessary to reduce our ecological footprint and avoid toxic pollution. This course focuses on the many considerations when selecting building materials. These include roofing, siding, cladding, insulation, windows and moisture control – as well as materials used within buildings such as finishes, flooring systems, cabinets and casework, adhesives and sealants, paints and stains. Information regarding Life Cycle Assessment is also provided. Because the air inside buildings is often more polluted, health risks associated with molds, VOC's, formaldehyde, CO, CO2, and other contaminants are discussed. A tour of nearby Sonoma Mountain Village, an approved "One Planet Community" and a summary review of the green building information covered in this certificate will also be provided.

Act Now: Funding and Implementing Sustainable Community Strategies

This class examines funding opportunities and concrete steps being taken here in Northern California and beyond to more closely link transportation with land use, reduce greenhouse gasses and transform the built environment. Many levels of government and the private sector are considering steps toward increased energy independence and sustainability. Students will benefit from a real time update on available funding, regional planning efforts and many other best practices. Grant funding, tax incentives, rebates and other innovative funding programs such as the Sonoma County Energy Independence Program will be presented. A summary review of the sustainable development and climate change information covered in this certificate will also be provided.

Lectures & Events

The Environmental Technology Center hosts a variety of events intended to inspire and instruct on the value and use of sustainability principles, including: green building design & construction, energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.

ETC Tours

By prior appointment and on weekends for larger groups. The tours are an opportunity to learn about the Center and are led by the center staff and volunteers. Come hear and see up-close what makes the ETC a unique and cutting-edge building. The tours are approximately 60 minutes in duration.