In recent years, high performance green buildings have gone from fringe to main stream. Organizations and municipalities around the world have started requiring elements of green building on new construction and major renovations, green materials and equipment are abundant in the marketplace, energy disclosure ordinances are being adopted, and green building rating systems and standards are becoming part of the popular vernacular. We still have a long way to go and there is lots of room for improvement in the way we design, build, and operate our buildings, but there is definite movement in the right direction. While there is increasing support for green building, energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions receive the bulk of the attention. There are many reasons for this: energy savings are relatively straightforward to quantify and verify, energy savings are easily translated into financial savings and returns on investment, and global climate change is disproportionately affected by the built environment. Energy efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas emissions are extremely important, but green building is an umbrella term that incorporates best practice and aspirational building design, construction, and operations strategies that are good for both the planet and people.

This course looks at the. This course attempts to answer two questions: What makes a building healthy, comfortable and productive for its occupants? How can we influence design, construction, and operations to ensure healthy, comfortable, and productive buildings? Students learn about occupants' interaction with light, color, sound, temperature and humidity, toxins and contaminants, plants and nature, and food and water. We review the most recent research in these areas and identify where additional research is needed. We also go through relevant green building standards, codes, and rating systems and discuss their applicability, strengths, and weaknesses. Students are introduced to design principles and tools for the design of healthy, comfortable, and productive facilities. Case studies demonstrate strategies to improve the occupant experience in office buildings, hospitals, schools, and residential buildings. Students leave the class with an understanding of these complex issues and are able to comfortably discuss setting goals and evaluating performance related to the occupant experience.

Related Degrees & Certificates

See other graduate degrees and certificates

Meet The Faculty

Nathan Gauthier

Nathan Gauthier

Director of Facilities Management Integration and Sustainability, Shawmut Design and Construction

Nathan Gauthier is a director of facilities management integration and sustainability at Shawmut Design and Construction. Prior to Shawmut, he was construction manager for UNICEF Rwanda, developing education and health care facilities in rural areas and refugee camps. He was previously energy manager with Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) for Philips Electronics, a portfolio with an annual utility spend of $25 million. Prior to JLL, Gauthier led green building services for Harvard University as assistant director of the Harvard Office for Sustainability. Gauthier has also worked for the South Carolina Sustainable Universities Initiative partnering with the school's facilities and housing departments to develop and track key performance indicators and implement an environmental management system. Gauthier grew up working for Energy Conscious Builders, his family's green construction company.

Gauthier has provided sustainability consulting for hundreds of facilities on five continents, more than 100 of which have become LEED certified (fourteen Platinum and counting). Gauthier has been chair of the US Green Building Council (USGBC) Energy and Atmosphere Technical Advisory Group and a member of the USGBC board of directors at the state (Massachusetts) and national level. Nathan is a licensed residential builder (Michigan), certified energy manager, facilities manager, construction document technologist, ground source heat pump installer, commissioning authority (new and existing), LEED AP, energy auditor, and trained in charrette facilitation. Gauthier was selected as a 2014 LEED Fellow.

Gauthier's research interests include green building design, construction and operations, energy management in existing buildings, building commissioning and quality assurance, sustainability knowledge management and adult education, and international sustainable development.

Course Provided By

Back To Top