Sustainable Design Project

A “blueprint” for success
This document exists to provide a bit more of a linear approach to class. Do this, then this, then this. Enjoy.

This is by far the most challenging project created for this class. It requires the following prerequisites for success.


This is the stuff I want from you when you're done with the project.
You can take this project three different directions, so what you make depends on what you do.

Sustainable Product Design - Advanced

Sustainable building design - intermediate

Sustainable Home Design

  • Analysis of original product and what is wrong with it
  • Your plan for an improved product, including materials, how it will be made and disposed of.
  • Your technical drawings of your improved product
  • Description of facility and purpose (eg: school for ~700 7th and 8th grade students)
  • Site plan
  • Floorplan for at least 1 floor
  • Sustainability plan.
  • Sustainability plan with estimated costs.
  • Floorplan of main level.
  • Siteplan

Intro - What is sustainable design??

  1. Go play My Sustainable House to get an intro to Sustainable design.

Sustainability Plan with Estimated costs...


*NOTE: A Google Image search is not research. Do not obtain floorplans from a Google Image Search!
  1. Remember to do Internet Basics.
  2. Learn about Home Research
  3. Find a Home design (Remember: You have a maximum of 3000 square feet for livable space in your design.) (Keep track of it)
  4. Find your Green Technology[s]
  5. Figure out about how much the house will cost:
  6. Figure out the cost of your green technology.
  7. Figure out how much your green technology will save the homeowner in energy costs.
  8. Put all of this in a blog post.

Drawing Your house

There are two ways you can rock your floorplans.

Real Technical drawing

This will focus on real technical drawing in (probably in Google Sketchup... maybe Visio... Solid Works will be available at some point for the serious folks). It's straight up hard to do. You will be challenged. If you're interested in learning Autocad or going into engineering, you should do this track. Let's Get Started.
Get a sample floor plan from online
Go find out what you want / need in terms of style and structure to support your sustainability plan. For example, you'll likely need a modern or craftsman style home with an open floorplan and large windows for Passive Solar Design, but you would need a Southwestern style house for Straw bale construction.
  • Precision Craft
Bookmark the house in your browser and save the plans to your computer.

Tracing the plan in Sketchup

Try one of these tutorials from Youtube....

Filling your house

You'll need to learn how to download components into your model. This will help with everything from whole Kitchens to individual chairs and vauses.


Noting your Sustainable Design

  • It’s time to make your sustainable design principle painfully obvious in your design.
    • Search components for what you need (eg: solar water heater, wind turbine, geothermal system, etc)
    • Figure out how to make / show what you need (landscaping for energy conservation, rainwater harvesting)
    • Label the seemingly obvious (passive solar design, straw bale walls, shipping containers, etc)

Roof construction

Finishing Touches

  • Finish your main floor with:
    • Materials on all walls (interior and exterior)
    • Furniture, appliances, & fixtures in all rooms
    • Some representation of your green technology
  • Add screenshots and images of your work, with explanations to your Portfolio.

Home Design Apps.

Okay, this is like technical drawing, but you don't need to learn all of the subtle nuances required for working with an advanced program, like Sketchup.


Your Goal: Design a home (3,000 sq. feet max) for a 4-person family living in the US using at least one Sustainable Architecture principle or Green Energy Source.
  1. Learn More about your goal here.
  2. Move on and choose an app from the three below.

Autodesk Homestyler

Autodesk Homestyler
This is the best web app for tracing floorplans. Use this if you want to trace.
  1. Log in to your Google Apps account.
  2. Go to the Autodesk Homestyler page.
  3. Sign in. Clicking the "google" button will allow you to connect to your school apps account.
  4. Try to make a house similar to the plan you found in the research phase above. Here's some tuts to help you:

Optional: Planner 5d

This one is more free form than Autodesk Homestyler (above). Some people like it better, but it drives me nuts! I can't seem to keep brick walls out of my living room.
  1. Log in to your Google Apps account.
  2. Go to the Planner5d app.
  3. Sign in. Clicking the "g+" icon external image google__icon.jpg will allow you to connect to your school apps account.
  4. Try to make a house similar to the plan you found in the research phase above. Here's some tuts to help you:

Optional: FloorPlanner

I've never tried this. It's just another alternative...
  1. Again, Log in to your Google Apps account.
  2. Go to the Floorplanner page.
  3. planner5d.PNG
    Click "Login" (not "sign up")
  4. Select "Log in using Google"
  5. Try to make a house similar to the plan you found in the research phase above. Here's some tuts to help you:

Blog: Sustainable Design

  1. Take some screenshots or export some pics of your house.
  2. Mark them up with notations of what sustainable design principles you used.
    • Note where specific items would be placed (geothermal systems, solar panels, rain catchment systems etc.)
    • Point out architectural and landscaping features (south-facing windows, deciduous & coniferous trees, special materials, etc)
  3. Add them to a new post in your blog.
  4. Write a post answering the following questions.
    • How did your design choices affect or how were they effected by your chosen sustainable technology?
    • What other sustainable design options are available for your house with the current design?
    • Which app did you choose to design your house. Did you like it (why / why not?)

Site Planning

in MS Visio

external image YjI1ODI1MjE5Y2IzNyZvZj*w.gif

Sandbox tools in Sketchup

How do I enable the Sandbox tools in Google SketchUp?

To enable the Sandbox tools, use the Extension Manager:
  1. Open the "Window" menu (Mac = "SketchUp" menu), and then click "Preferences."
  2. In the left pane, click "Extensions."
  3. In the right pane, click "Sandbox Tools."
external image YjI1ODI1MjE5Y2IzNyZvZj*w.gif