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UCI course to focus on ‘green’ buildings

From LED light bulbs to water efficiency, what makes a building “green”? A new course at UC Irvine intends to teach students the answer.

UC Irvine is offering a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, Construction Management Course through its Extension program, which will educate students on the requirements for LEED compliance and an understanding of LEED documentation.

“I originally thought it would be good for contractors,” instructor Kenneth Howe said. “The interest has been beyond that.”

Howe has been in development and real estate for 20 years. He’s worked on LEED certified buildings in Orange County and Los Angeles, such as Park Virdian apartments in Anaheim, which received a LEED Gold certification.


Although the 10-week class is focused on the construction elements necessary for certification and how to work with LEED, it’s also helpful for anyone involved in the documentation processes, such as city staff or developers.

“When [a city] approves a project, the planning department gives conditions of approval,” he said. “In the conditions there has been — more and more lately — design requirements that are energy efficient.”

California mandates energy efficiency through Title 24, which sets the code and energy requirements for buildings, Howe said. Cities draft their own set of criteria as a complement to Title 24 or adopt their own standard (such as LEED), which uses its own criteria.

Students will walk away with an understanding of construction compliance standards and the coursework provides them with a binder of documents they can use when applying for LEED certification.


The online class is from Jan. 10 to March 20. For more information, visit