Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Clean Technologies Building A New Energy Economy

Sustainable Design


Buildings are responsible for nearly half of the energy consumed in the United States every year. Sustainability, or meeting our needs without compromising the lives and lifestyles of future generations, promises to be the biggest challenge of the 21st Century.

Institute for Sustainable Design

Research discoveries made in Washington State University’s Institute for Sustainable Design inform the design of sustainable environments. Launched in 2008 with a $500,000 grant from Weyerhaeuser, the Institute innovates processes and designs that reduce energy and water footprints, create equity across economic levels, and build trust and shared vision within communities.

Under the leadership of Dr. Michael Wolcott, the Institute bridges disciplines, merging expertise in architecture, construction management, civil engineering, wood engineering, and materials discovery and processing. Its researchers envision a day when all design will be sustainable.

Composite Materials & Engineering Center

The Center develops new building materials and innovative structural systems from sustainable resources. Its interdisciplinary approach increases opportunities for researchers to create novel materials needed for “green architecture.” Their discoveries make important contributions to challenges as diverse as energy use and public health. The Institute’s faculty and staff explore alternative building styles, pioneer building changes through strategic alliances with industry, and serve as a global technical and design resource.