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Five focal areas guide our research, education and service work. These focal areas keep us aligned with out mission and on the leading edge of practice.

Focus Areas

Learning Environments

Learning environments have long been a focus of our institute, both as a focus of research and green building consulting. We are committed to driving the integration of sustainability into school design, operations, curriculum and culture through research, creating resources, providing education, and offering professional services. Our hope is that by providing students with schools which illustrate the highest level of sustainable design and operation, students may understand and embrace sustainability and have the skills to lead a sustainable future.

WSS framework An outcome of our focus on learning environments has been the development of our whole-school sustainability framework. Read more here.

Living Environments

The term living environments refers to places that generate, restore and/or regenerate health and wellbeing in natural, social and economic systems. It is a worldview that there is no separation between human and natural systems, and that every place has the potential to generate life, renew the spirit and help secure a vibrant future for coming generations. A living environment creates resources, making our planet and its inhabitants healthier and stronger.

LENSESAn outcome of our focus on living environments is the LENSES framework for buildings and communities. Read more here.

Organizational Sustainability

Sustainable organizations are valuable contributors in our society because their business operations, as well as the products and services they provide, are influenced by environmental and social bottom-lines in addition to the economic bottom-line. This level of accountability and stewardship is gaining traction across industries, and as such, facilitation services and on-going research lead to innovation in this area. We are organizational sustainability facilitators and researchers, working with private and public entities to develop strategic approaches tailored to the needs of our clients.

Integrated Design

Sustainable, regenerative design and development requires a holistic, team approach to truly create vital, successful places. Our institute has been a long-time advocate for integrated design processes and project delivery. Our credo has been to only involve our students and staff in projects which employ integrative processes. We often facilitate the integrated design process on LEED and other service learning projects for which we are contracted.

Healthy Built Environments

A built environment which connects with and mimics the health found in our natural environment requires a visionary approach, a base of knowledge, and an awareness of the possibilities.  We instill our projects and our outreach education with the vision that environmental, economic, and social well-being is vital to a sustainable, regenerative future.