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3 Free Online Workshops that Explain the Fundamental Elements of Sustainable Design

Almost 10 years ago now, Jason McLennan writing in his book “The Philosophy of Sustainable Design” laid out a compelling vision of sustainable design with the goal of eliminating “negative environmental impact completely through skilful, sensitive design”.

In the abstract, sustainable design has a poetic feel to it. But the essential component parts are very real and very impactful not only to the environment but to society at large, and to our collective pocket books.

The General Services Administration (GSA), for example, oversees 500,000 government buildings, spends $30 billion per year on federal construction and has energy costs totaling approximately $7 billion per year. That’s a lot of tax payer money and represents an enormous opportunity to transfer sustainable technologies and practices on a large scale which GSA is currently undertaking.

So what are the component parts or elements of sustainable design?

Autodesk Online Sustainability Workshops Educate and Inform

To answer this question and help designers and architects reduce the environmental impact of their designs, Autodesk has put together a series of quick and easy-to-follow online sustainability workshops that address the three fundamental elements of sustainable design:

Take for example the Energy workshop. To make anything sustainable whether it’s a fridge or a building, you need to understand energy and design strategies that optimize its use and minimize loss.  This section covers not only the basics but also delves into the importance of friction reduction, the optimization of heat transfer and fluid dynamics.

For a deeper dive into how you can reduce building energy use and design net zero buildings check out the videos in the Green or Net Zero Buildings workshop. This also includes tips on using convection, conduction, and radiation to design passive systems, smart lighting techniques, efficient HVAC design.

For the full workshop of videos visit the Autodesk Education Community Sustainability Workshop.

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Caron is the editor of [acronym]. With more than 15 years experience in the publishing and marketing industries, Caron specializes in the public sector and related digital design disciplines. Caron has led the editorial team since [acronym] was launched in 2006 and is the point of contact for contributed articles and guest bloggers. Contact Caron at

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