Unique Program in Sustainable Building Design

Responding to a growing demand for ecologically friendly homes, Fleming College’s Haliburton Campus in Ontario is introducing an innovative program in sustainable building design and construction, the first college program of its kind in Canada. In the intensive, 20-week program that starts in September 2005, students will learn about alternative energy sources, foundations that have minimal impact on the site and landscaping that incorporates natural plantings.

Constructing a building for public or private sector clients, students will explore the use of alternative building materials such as straw bale, cob, cordwood or rammed earth. They will install a complete water collection, distribution and waste recovery system drawing on such possibilities as rainwater purification, wind and solar pumping, constructed wetlands and composting toilets.

"In developing the program, it became very apparent that there is a strong and growing demand for housing that incorporates alternative construction technologies," says Barb Bolin, Campus Principal at Haliburton. "Builders of this type of home are having a difficult time finding trained employees."

"At its root, the sustainable building design movement acknowledges that it is impossible to view the overall health of buildings without due consideration of the impact that those buildings have on the planet," says the program guide. "In Ontario, the number of buildings featuring natural materials and renewable energies has expanded from a small handful in the mid-1990s to the hundreds by 2004."

The program is designed for those already in the construction industry, graduates of architecture schools, interior designers, engineers, people with an environmental background who want construction skills and people who might be considering building a sustainable home. Advisory committee members for the program include an architect, representatives of the Ontario Straw Bale Coalition, an engineer, and representatives from Canada Mortgage and Housing, Natural Resources Canada, and the Canadian Solar Industries Assocation.

For more information, please call Barb Bolin, Principal, Haliburton Campus, Fleming College at 705.457.1680 or Pauline Janitch, Communications, at 705.749.5530 x1370.