The construction industry actively adopts the concept of sustainability to not only minimize the impact on the environment but also increase social and economic benefits through accepting sustainable design and construction practices. This growing trend in sustainable construction requires both new knowledge and new skills for sustainability, in addition to conventional knowledge, such as scheduling, estimating, contracting, etc. Due to this paradigm change in the construction industry, construction programs in the U.S.A. should offer sustainable construction courses in order to teach sustainable knowledge, technologies and skills to their students before their entrance into industry.
The purpose of this study is to develop a sustainable construction course designed for university construction programs using a systematic course development approach divided into three stages including preparation, development, and improvement. The course described in this paper is used to illustrate the systematic development process and can serve as an example for faculty at other universities on how to use such a method. During the preparation stage, a syllabus review is conducted in order to recognize and evaluate current sustainable construction courses offered by construction programs. In addition, in-depth literature review is performed to identify current trends in sustainable construction courses and related research. The development stage consists of: creating the framework for a sustainable construction course, choosing the goals and objectives for this course, choosing the contents of the course, organizing the chosen contents of the course, and planning the course schedule. At the improvement stage, the proposed course is improved, reviewed, and evaluated by experts from both the construction industry and academia through a detailed feedback process. From this systematically developed sustainable construction course, students in construction programs can learn basic knowledge of sustainability and the importance of sustainable design and construction. They will be exposed to different sustainable building rating systems such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Green Globes, collaborative skills among construction participants, and the advantages and pitfalls of sustainable construction. In addition, construction students who become leaders in the industry will change the nature of the construction industry and society to help not only minimize environmental impacts caused by construction activities but also to secure our earth.