Sustainable design and “green” buildings were ideas once discussed in future tense; however, the future is now.

With focus shifting toward creating sustainably built environments, it’s vital for people to understand the concept as well as its costs and benefits.

The new sustainable design minor offered through the West Virginia University Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design provides students with the solid foundation needed to consider the social, environmental and economic impacts of decisions made in the building process.

From architects to owners to tenants, everyone interacts with a built environment at some level.

“Buildings are constructed for people,” said Chris Haddox, visiting assistant professor of sustainable design. “It’s important for everyone to be able to think about them in a different light, to understand the costs and benefits of owning, working or living in a sustainably designed building.”

Until now, he said, WVU students haven’t had the opportunity to study sustainability in a concentrated approach.

“The coursework required for this minor will give students a sound background in the broad arena of sustainability – knowledge our Earth and job market now demand.”

Open to all students, the minor requires completion of 18 credit hours in courses Haddox describes as acting like a funnel – initially broad, providing an overview of sustainable living and design, and narrowing into specific interests such as energy efficiency, environmental policies or global forestry.

Students will also take a course designed to help them prepare for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, an internationally recognized suite of programs designed to certify building projects were constructed with sustainable features, accreditation exams.

“Regardless of their majors, students need to emerge from their WVU experience with a sound understanding of the social, economic and environmental factors that will shape their careers and lives,” he said. “I can’t think of a major where sustainability isn’t applicable.”

For more information on the sustainable design minor, contact Haddox at 293-3657 or



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