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.
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.
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.
This yearlong academic program unites students from diverse disciplines to collaboratively solve real design projects in communities throughout Washington. It establishes a replicable model for engaging students and faculty in sustainability engineering.
Students receive guidance from University faculty, as well as from expert practitioners of sustainable design methods. These mentors challenge students to develop analytical techniques and code justifications, just as they would in professional practice.
Research centers and initiatives
- Center for Sustaining Agriculture & Natural Resources
- Composite Materials & Engineering Center
- Institute for Sustainable Design
- Integrated Design Experience (IDX)
- Low Impact Design Stormwater Research Program
- WSU Extension Energy Program: Applied Building Science
- Sustainable Infrastructure and Design, Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture