Course Title: Design sustainable buildings

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2020

Course Code: ARCH5225

Course Title: Design sustainable buildings

School: 375T Vocational Design and Social Context

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6161 - Advanced Diploma of Building Design (Architectural)

Course Contact: Catherine Ciavarella

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 9819

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Lisa Mee

Nominal Hours: 90

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites


Course Description

This course of competency specifies the outcomes required to apply the principles of sustainability to building design. It includes the application of sustainable practices to minimise negative impacts of the construction process and land use on the environment, incorporate passive design, sustainable water use and energy efficiency into a building design and select suitable materials for the construction of the building. It requires compliance with relevant legislation, Australian Standards and the Building Code of Australia (BCA).

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VU22460 Design sustainable buildings


1 Determine the impacts of building development on the natural environment

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Impacts of building development on surrounding ecosystems are researched to identify the benefits of sound environmental policy. 1.2 Triple Bottom Line approaches are determined for consideration in the designing of buildings. 1.3 Current government and industry responses to Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) are researched and representative organisations for ESD are identified to ascertain current policies and legislation.



2 Incorporate sustainable criteria into building design

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Location, specific climates and their characteristics are identified and their impact on building design is researched to inform the design. 2.2 Basic principles and integration for building orientation, minimal site impact, thermal mass, insulation, glass exposure and ventilation are determined to maximise integration of sustainable design principles in the design. 2.3 Site influences and sun path are considered to maximise opportunities for passive heating and cooling. 2.4 Passive design principles are incorporated into a design project. 2.5 Sustainable site development practices are included in design specifications. 2.6 Appropriate form of construction is selected and documented according to client brief and specifications.


3 Select sustainable materials

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Characteristics of sustainable materials are identified and analysed to inform material selection. 3.2 Sustainability of a range of building materials is compared and suitable materials are selected for a specific building design in accordance with current legislation and the BCA.


4 Incorporate systems for sustainable water use

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Systems for water collection, storage, use and re-use are incorporated into building design in accordance with relevant legislation and local restrictions. 4.2 Alternative systems for reticulated water and effluent disposal are investigated and described. 4.3 Strategies to prevent run-off are investigated and incorporated into design.


5 Incorporate energy efficiency into building design

Performance Criteria:

5.1 Energy efficient design principles are identified in accordance with current legislation and the BCA. 5.2 Renewable energy sources are researched and integrated into building design and best practice options for energy conservation are recommended. 5.3 Selection and use of energy efficient fittings, appliances and services are determined and included in design specifications.

Learning Outcomes

This course supports the attainment of the skills and knowledge required for building designers to design sustainable buildings within the context of relevant legislation, the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and Australian Standards.

Details of Learning Activities

The following list is indicative of the range of activities undertaken in the course:

  • supervised and independent project work
  • supervised and independent research
  • studio critiques
  • student pin-up and presentations
  • peer reviews
  • in-class demonstrations
  • lectures
  • site visits and/or excursions

Emphasis of activities may vary depending on the specifics of the assessment tasks.

Please note: due to COVID-19restrictions, this course will be delivered online through Canvas in a manner which attempts to approximate a studio environment.

Refer to Canvas for details:

Teaching Schedule

This is a general outline only.
The Canvas shell contains a more detailed teaching schedule and must be referred to on a regular (weekly) basis.

Further updates may be communicated via Canvas Announcements by your teacher or the course coordinator.
While all course content will be delivered, the order and mode of delivery may change.

W02 AT-01
W08 AT-03 part A
reflect + prepare
W10 AT-02


W02 AT-04
reflect + prepare
W10 AT-04
W15 AT-03 part B

Refer to Canvas for details:


While all course content will be delivered, the order and mode of delivery may change depending on the availability of specialist facilities and equipment.  Please check Canvas regularly as any updates will be communicated by your teacher. 

Due dates for assessment tasks dependent on access to specialist facilities and equipment may change. Please check Canvas regularly as any updates will be communicated by your teacher. 

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

Refer to Canvas for additional resources:

Overview of Assessment

This course of competency could be assessed in the workplace or a close simulation of the workplace environment, provided that simulated or project-based assessment techniques fully replicate design drafting workplace conditions, materials, activities,
responsibilities and procedures. Holistic or project-based assessment with other related units is recommended.

A person who demonstrates competency in this unit must be able to provide evidence of the ability to:
• apply the principles of sustainable building design in accordance with current legislation and government policies
• evaluate and recommend sustainable materials suitable for the construction of a specific building design in accordance with client brief and specifications
• research, evaluate and report on data and findings, make recommendations and develop strategies for the design of sustainable buildings for at least one building development project that complies with the applicable local government authority, relevant legislation and the Building Code of Australia (BCA).

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Overview:
This unit is delivered and assessed through a holistic, integrated, project-based approach between Design Sustainable Buildings and Present Architectural Designs. Assessment tasks and processes link together elements and performance criteria from the same unit, and group together elements and performance criteria from both units.


Assessment Tasks and Submissions:
All assessment tasks in this integrated course MUST be submitted as scheduled in order to be assessed for Competency at the end of the unit.

  • Submitting all assessment tasks does not equate to Competency AchievedCompetency is assessed against the unit's performance criteria as per the Assessment Matrix below
  • Failing to submit all assessment tasksby the scheduled deadlines throughout the academic year will result in a DNS - Did Not Submit awarded at the end of unit. 
  • Adjustments to assessments can be made by following RMIT protocol:
  • Always refer to the Teaching Schedule for dates:
  • Students may not be able to continue to the second year of the program until a Competency Achieved is awarded against the unit.
  • All assessment tasks MUST be authenticated in order to be assessed. Authentication requires students to actively participate in ALL scheduled classes and have their work reviewed by their teacher on a weekly basis. 
  • Resubmissions are generally not possible unless specified in a particular assessment brief.


Assessment Processes:
All assessment tasks in this integrated unit are assessed as either formative and/or summative:

  • Formative assessments evaluate student performance throughout the unit. Formative assessments provide the basis for ongoing feedback and can be considered essential building blocks for the more substantial summative assessments.
  • Formative assessments in this course are assessed against a range of criteria as Satisfactory or Not Satisfactory.
  • Summative assessments evaluate student learning at the end of the unit, against the unit's Performance Criteria.
  • Summative assessments in this course are required to be deemed satisfactory against all assessment criteria in order for a
    Competency Achieved grade awarded. If any assessment criteria are deemed Not Satisfactory on a Summative Assessment, a Not Yet Competent grade will be awarded.


Assessment Tasks Summary:

.  .  Type  Assessment Resubmission
Semester-01  AT-01  Project  Formative X
 AT-02  Project  Formative X
 AT-03 part A  Knowledge Questions  Formative multiple attempts at online quiz
Semester-02  AT-03 part B  Knowledge Questions  Formative + Summative multiple attempts at online quiz
 AT-04  Project  Summative one resubmission opportunity if applicable*

At the project deadline, if the submitted work is sufficiently complete and can be authenticated, a teacher may allow one resubmission opportunity.


Refer to Canvas Assignment section for more specific assessment criterial and details:



Assessment Task Feedback Processes:
General Feedback:
The most important feedback is the feedback that occurs in class discussions and via the resources provided through Canvas. As such, students are expected to:

  • attend and participate in every class and lecture as scheduled.
  • understand that valuable feedback and advice may be delivered in an ad hoc basis.
  • reference the Canvas based resources regularly.
  • take a scholastic approach to their studies, which includes note taking and reflection.
  • review the teaching schedule prior to classes to ensure you come to each class prepared.


Formal Feedback:
Rubrics in Canvas will display feedback across a range of assessment criteria as explained above, specific to each Assessment Task. Further details are available through Canvas under the Assignments section:

This unit is assessed in accordance with competency-based assessment and RMIT University VE Grades: 

NB: Students enrolled in Vocational Education and Training qualifications are assessed for Competency. To be assessed as Competent means you have consistently demonstrated the required knowledge and skills at a standard required in the workplace.

Refer to Canvas for details:

Assessment Matrix

The Assessment Matrix demonstrates alignment of assessment tasks with the relevant unit of competency.

Refer to Canvas for details:

Other Information

The links below are to various parts of the RMIT website and should be referred to on a regular basis until familiarity with them is achieved.

Academic Progress:

Student Responsibilities:

Adjustment to Assessment:


Academic Integrity:

How to submit work:

Employability skills:

Course Overview: Access Course Overview