A new Web site from the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) provides free video-based educational courses and case studies on the nuts and bolts of building affordable green housing.
The Affordable Green Academy features 10 educational tracks with topics including foundations, walls and windows, roofs and attics, and environmentally responsible materials. In addition, the site’s 12-part Energy Star thermal bypass checklist training provides detailed instruction on the creation of Energy Star-compliant homes.
Each course has a test and successful completion of all the courses will allow participants to earn an Affordable Green Academy Certificate of Completion.
The academy was created to help developers, designers, and builders incorporate green strategies into their everyday practices, says NJIT’s Christine Bruncati Liaukus, a former trainer for the Enterprise Green Communities Initiative. She says the Web site’s goal is to provide detailed, practical information on a range of green building topics.
“After leaving a training session, I found that although people were fully on board with green, once they got back to their offices and into their projects, they weren’t sure what to actually do: ‘How should I air seal effectively? How should I frame my buildings to use less lumber and have a better thermal envelope? What kind of mechanical ventilation should I provide? How do I detail an insulated slab edge?’” she recalls. “So then we had the idea to provide very practical guidance online. Not so much on PV arrays and bamboo floors, but on the not-so-sexy but very important design and detailing issues that will allow a building to truly perform as a green building.”
While geared specifically to builders of affordable housing, the educational sessions are applicable to any type of green building pro, Bruncati Liaukus says.
“All of the information is applicable to low-scale, wood-frame market-rate and upscale housing as well,” she says.
The programming was developed by NJIT's Center for Building Knowledge, which also manages a sister site, the Affordable Housing Design Advisor.
Jennifer Goodman is Senior Editor Online for EcoHome.