Green Construction Course from University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Beginning in the spring, budding construction managers at UALR -- the University of Arkansas at Little Rock -- and around the world can learn building strategies and techniques to make their structures more environmentally friendly – just in time for a green revolution consumers are waging and the incoming Obama administration is encouraging.

James K. Carr, associate professor of construction management in UALR’s Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology, said the senior-level course will be offered online.

“The course will be based on LEED standards, but not necessarily teach the LEED test. The course will incorporate those things” Carr said, referring to the Leadership in Energy and Environment Design certification program.

“Students will pick existing buildings and study how the structure is meeting those standards and study how that particular building can be made more sustainable, more green.”

One topic will be how builders and designers can harvest naturally occurring resources for long-term savings for building owners. Students will examine active and passive solar systems to harvest sunlight or collecting rainwater to flush toilets or water gardens.

“There are extremes you can go to; we’re not going to emphasize that, but we will talk about it,” he said.

How green can a building get?

“It can get extreme,” Carr said. “There are some systems where you can take even the water that comes out of the toilet and use it as drinking water. That’s what I call an extreme. It’s doable, but you have to change your attitude when you get into something like that.”

Carr said green systems and products sometimes can add to the cost of construction or renovation, but he said consumers are increasingly going green – even if costs are higher at the outset – because they know they will save utility costs in the long run. And reducing one’s carbon footprint is becoming more and more popular.

He suspects the new course will be popular. Last spring, the National Association of Homebuilders began offering a short course on green building, and it became one of the most popular courses the association has ever offered.

Carr said a professional enrolling in his new course won’t receive any special certification, but the knowledge students will acquire will assist in acquiring LEED certification.

Carr’s college is practicing what he preaches. UALR’s new engineering and information technology building currently under construction on the northwest area of the campus will incorporate numerous techniques and systems the construction management students will learn in Carr’s class.

The construction industry is the nation's largest industry, employing more than 10 percent of the nation’s workforce. Construction management graduates from UALR are equipped to meet the technical challenges of the 21st century and the highly specialized demands of the modern construction industry.

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