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Environmental Design in University Curricula and Architectural Training in Europe (EDUCATE)

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The promotion of sustainability in the design of the built environment is a key-factor for addressing the challenges mankind faces in response to climate change, resource availability, environmental degradation and energy consumption. Widespread awareness of the role that buildings play in the current climate crisis, together with the technical requirements arising from new regulations, are triggering demands for architects with advanced skills in sustainable design and energy efficiency. This paradigm shift in professional responsibility requires that a robust environmental education sits at the core of the architectural curriculum at both academic and professional level. Unfortunately, the successful integration of environmental sustainability into a creative design process has proven elusive and, consequently, both education and the profession have been slow to react to the demands of enhanced energy efficiency in architecture. To respond to these challenges, EDUCATE seeks to foster competence in sustainable environmental design at all levels of architectural education and practice aiming to achieve comfort, well-being and energy efficiency in new and existing buildings.

Results

  • Remove existing pedagogical and professional barriers to the successful integration of principles and values of sustainable environmental design and energy efficiency at all levels and stages of architectural education and practice.
  • Define and test strategies and methods for curriculum development in architectural education which bridge current divides between sustainability-related technical information and creative design exploration: - A framework for curriculum development downloaded 789 times since February 2011
  • Develop an online interactive Portal on sustainable environmental design and energy efficiency in architecture that facilitates such integration in higher education and supports Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for building practitioners: - 2000 registered users of the knowledge base, 79.5% of students rating the knowledge base useful; -190 professional accounts for practicing professionals; -122 academics outside the consortium from 64 Universities expressed their interest
  • In collaboration with Chambers of Architects, propose homogeneous criteria for the accreditation of architectural curricula and for professional registration that clearly define the level of knowledge, skills and competence in sustainable environmental design and energy efficiency expected of students, graduates and building practitioners: - White paper on Sustainable Architectural Education - White paper on Criteria for Professional Qualification
  • Promote and disseminate environmental know-how and exempla of best practice amongst students, educators, professionals and the general public, fostering change of behaviour and expectations, and promoting sustainable practices in architecture and urban design: - 20946 visitors to the EDUCATE web portal - success of the EDUCATE price - positive trends in student grades and learning outcomes in design subjects (average of 10% of improvements in results in the participating academic partners).
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Lessons learned

  • There is still reticence from some academic and professional bodies to modify current practices towards the comprehensive integration of environmental sustainability and energy efficiency in higher and post-professional training.
  • There still are misunderstanding and lack of confidence by some parts of the public to the notion that a sustainable approach to design can go beyond the meeting of carbon reduction targets and also provide a creative inspiration to design and contribute to the comfort and well being of building occupants.
  • A bottom-up and a top-down approach should be tackled simultaneously to support the successful implementation of sustainability and energy efficiency in the education and practice of design, and foster changes of behaviour and expectations.
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Partners and coordinator

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Contact

The University of Nottingham
United Kingdom
Contact point: 
Name: 
Dr. Sergio Altomonte
Tel: 
44-115-951-3170

Budget

Key documents

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In brief

Duration:
01/06/2009 to 31/05/2012
Contract number: 
IEE/08/635/SI2.528419

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