Course Title: Design sustainable buildings

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2013

Course Code: ARCH5183

Course Title: Design sustainable buildings

School: 320T Architecture & Design

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6097 - Advanced Diploma of Building Design (Architectural)

Course Contact : Rosetta Di Giangregorio

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4819

Course Contact

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Andrew Rodda:
skype: AndrewRMIT

Nominal Hours: 60

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 unit 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:

VPAU588 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 Ecologically Sustainable Development (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 Building Code of Australia (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 Building Code of Australia (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 unit 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

A range of activities including:

  • online content modules
  • directed and self guided learning
  • face to face

Teaching Schedule

Class Number Topic Assessment Task
01  Course Introduction  Assessment Task Briefs
02  Energy: Context  Online Topic Quiz
03  Energy: Generation  Online Topic Quiz
04  Energy: Conservation  Online Topic Quiz
05  Energy: Embodied + Operational  Online Topic Quiz
06  Energy: Legislation  Online Topic Quiz
07  Ventilation  Online Topic Quiz
Design Submission
08  Sunlight and Shading  Online Topic Quiz
09  Daylight and Lighting  Online Topic Quiz
10  Global Sustainability  Online Topic Quiz
11  Permaculture  Online Topic Quiz
12  Design for Re-use  Online Topic Quiz
13  Course Review  
14  Blog Presentations  Blog
15  Online Exam  Online Quiz

NB: Whilst your teacher will cover all the material in this schedule, the class order is subject to change, depending on class needs and availability of resources.
For a detailed outline of the teaching schedule, course structure and current updates; you are advised to refer to the myRMIT site.

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

Milne G., Reardon C., Your Home Technical Manual. Australian Government Printers


Christopher Alexander, A Patten Language, Oxford University Press 1977.



Other Resources

Overview of Assessment

This unit 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

Design Project 01 (20% of Arch 5183 Grade)

Alternative Materials Wall Construction Project (15% of Arch 5183 Grade)

Online Topic Quiz (30% of Arch 5183 Grade)

Online Exam (35% of Arch 5183 Grade)

Arch 5182 is part 1of2. Arch 5183 is part 2of2. The final course grade is made up from 50% of both parts.
Arch 5182 is graded PX for results > 50%

Assessment Matrix

An Assessment matrix demonstrating alignment of assessment tasks with the relevant Unit of Competency is available from the course contact person (stated above)

Other Information

Academic Progress:
At the end of each academic period individual student progress will be reviewed by the Student Academic Progress Review Committee and students will be advised of their eligibility for progression.

Student Charter:
The Student Charter, in association with the University’s statutes and law, indicates what the University and its students can expect from each other. The University’s mission is to create and disseminate knowledge to meet the needs of industry and the community and to foster in students the skills and passion to contribute to and engage with the world.

Student Responsibilities:
In undertaking this course students are required to be responsible for:
•The time management of the course work in order to complete all work requirements satisfactorily and on time.
•RMIT encourages students to attend all scheduled classes to optimise academic success.
•To ascertain what content or assessment has been missed, and gather the information prior to next class.
•To be proactive in mastering the academic material of the course by challenging, questioning and extending course outcomes.
•To be responsible for the maintenance of a non-disruptive and scholastic attitude in the learning environment.
See RMIT Academic progress information, responsibilities and support for current students:;ID=nzasms4pljer

Extension of Time for Submission of Assessable work Procedure:
Students must refer to the RMIT policy for eligibility and procedures.;ID=7usdbki1fjf31;STATUS=A?QRY=extension%20of%20time%20form&STYPE=ENTIRE 

Equitable Assessment:
Students must refer to the RMIT policy for eligibility and procedures.;ID=id0959jyz9mx

Special Consideration:
Students must refer to the RMIT policy for eligibility and procedures.;ID=qkssnx1c5r0y

Assessment Principles:
Final assessment decisions can be reviewed and or appealed.
See RMIT Assessment Policies: 

Employability skills:
Employability skills describe non-technical skills and competencies that are an important part of effective and successful participation in the workplace.
The following Employability Skills are an inherent part of this course:
Communication, Teamwork, Problem solving, Initiative and enterprise, Planning and organising, Self management, Learning and Technology.

Refer to the RMIT policy on plagiarism which is reference under Academic Integrity atRMIT;ID=kw02ylsd8z3n;STATUS=A?QRY=Plagiarism%20-%20student%20information&STYPE=ENTIRE

Course Overview: Access Course Overview