Addressing Accreditation Criteria Related to Sustainable Construction in the United States: A Case Study

  • Richard BurtEmail author
Conference paper


The requirement to incorporate sustainability into the curriculum of construction management programs in the United States has only been required since July 2015. At this time the American Council for Construction Education (ACCE) introduced the revised Document 103: Standards and Criteria for Accreditation of Construction Education Bachelor Degree Programs. The curriculum requirements of the standards in previous versions had been prescriptive in nature, requiring construction programs to demonstrate the inclusion of a required number of credit hours of prescribed subject matter and topical content. The previous standard had no requirement to teach sustainability. A series of workshops was conducted with construction industry participants to gather data in order to develop a set of learning outcomes that would define the capabilities of students graduating from a 4-year ACCE accredited program. The new standard requires programs to demonstrate graduates of their program have achieved 20 Student Learning Outcomes, one of which is that upon graduation students should be able to “understand the basic principles of sustainable construction.” The approach for delivering sustainable construction subject matter across the curriculum at an ACCE accredited university is presented, together with method of academic assessment of students during their senior year. Course learning outcomes addressing the principles of sustainable construction were developed and subject matter taught across several courses from freshman through senior level students. Academic assessment is achieved by senior students conducting an individual assessment of a project building to demonstrate understanding of how the design and construction of the building reflects the basic principles of sustainable construction. Students are set six specific tasks that address: LEED Certification; Erosion & Sedimentation Control; Building Commissioning; Environmentally Preferred Products; Construction Waste & Indoor Air Quality. Students are graded using a five criteria grading rubric. Results from academic assessment conducted since the Fall of 2015 suggest students are consistently meeting performance criteria.


Accreditation Curriculum Sustainability Student learning Assessment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.McWhorter School of Building ScienceAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA

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