Sustainable Building Advisor (SBA)


Length: 10 weeks

Instructor: Ann Edminster

Partner: Sustainable Building Advisor (SBA)

Subjects: Certification Prep, LEED, Sustainable Building


Sustainable building is changing. Sustainable Building Advisors are architects, planners, builders, engineers, consultants, and building operators who value resilience, whole system thinking, and sustainable practices. You’ll gain exposure to the most important topics in sustainable building, including zero net energy buildings, integrative design, and simple approaches to energy modeling.

This is an opportunity to spend eight weeks learning from the great Ann Edminster, while earning AIA and GBCI Credit.Registration includes full 1-year membership at

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The SBA Program Includes Full 1-Year Membership at

You'll get BuildingGreen's complete content database, searchable green building product database, searchable database of high-performance building case studies, and green building news and updates.

Become a Sustainable Building Advisor (SBA)

After successfully completing the Sustainable Building Advisor Program students can become Sustainable Building Advisors (SBA) by taking the SBA exam. A passing score entitles professionals to use the designation SBA after one’s name on business cards and resumes. As a Sustainable Building Advisor you will be part of an active alumni network of leading green building professionals.

The SBA Program is Known for Mentorship and Real Relationships

Part of what makes the SBA Program and transformative experience is the real human beings who teach and take it. Ann Edminster personifies this system that values personal connections alongside technical know-how.

Self-Paced Online Course

This course is self-paced and entirely online. The lecture videos and other materials are available any time, and the instructor responds to student questions through a discussion board. In order to participate, you will need an Internet connection and an up-to-date web browser.

Supported by Student Advocate – Tom McCormack

In addition to instructor support via the discussion board, students have access to Tom McCormack, HeatSpring's Student Advocate. He is available to answer general questions via email, discussion board, chat, or phone. (Spanish email support available upon request.)

Having taken the classes and exam for five different Green Building Certifications, I can assure you that the SBA Program is hands down the most important. Students can expect to leave the course with the ability to fully comprehend all aspects of sustainability through the eyes of the built environment as well as empowered with the desire to share their newly found understanding.

- Matt Macko, SBA, LEED AP, HERS, CGBP

[Through the course] I was able to realize my strengths and weaknesses in green building and improve in each area. I’ve had at least one person say when reviewing my resume that it’s very evident that I am interested in continually growing my green building education, a fact which made that person approach me over someone else for a contracting opportunity.

- Rebecca Anderson, SBA, LEED AP

I feel a new confidence in my work and ability to provide future consulting services for sustainable branding for new clients. I never could have experienced this vast amount of information without this course which pulled it all together.

- Lily Lilly, Village Green Homes

BuildingGreen is my go-to source for green building strategies, products and information. I couldn't do my work without it.

- Marcus Scheffer - Founder, Energy Opportunities, Inc.

Your Instructor


Ann Edminster

owner/founder, Design AVEnues LLC

Ann V. Edminster, M. Arch, founder/principal of Design AVEnues, is an expert residential net-zero energy consultant, green building teacher, speaker, and author. She consults with builders, developers, software startups, design firms, investors, utilities, public agencies, and homeowners, providing unmatched knowledge of sustainable and regenerative design and...[more]

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Course Outline

When you complete this course you are eligible for a certificate of completion from HeatSpring. In order to request a certificate, you first must complete all the assignments. Once you've completed the course sign our honor code and request a certificate of completion

Welcome - Orientation Materials

This course is self-paced, so you don’t need to be logged in at any specific time. You can complete the material whenever is convenient and work ahead or catch up if you fall behind. Expect to dedicate a minimum of 5 hours per week to the course. Keep in mind that the instructor will be there to answer your questions and help you learn for the duration of the course. The instructor will only be available to answer questions during the posted session dates, so ask all your questions while we're in session. You will have access to all of the online materials for a full year. Contact Tom McCormack, your Student Advocate, if you have questions before or after the posted session dates. Please review the orientation materials and introduce yourself on the discussion board.

Week 1 - Core: Fundamentals of Sustainable Building and Design

Week 2 - Core: The Importance of Place: Site, Transportation and Land Use Issues

Week 3 - Core: Energy Efficient Design

Week 4 - Core: “Green” Materials Selection

Week 5 - Core: Indoor Environmental Quality & Health

Week 6 - Core: Water & Site Design

Week 7 - Core: Sustainable Job Site Operations

Week 8 - Core: Building Operations and Maintenance

Week 9 - Report or Presentation From Your Local Community

The final deliverable for your field project is a project report or presentation. Your research is based on a real building or project site, for which you will develop designs, recommendations, and plans. This is an opportunity to go deep on a topic you find interesting and experience the integrated design process firsthand. We will help you connect with a local field provider. Your field provider will provide access to local designers, builders, installers, and advisors. They will also provide access to local buildings and projects through tours and introductions. Field providers are there to support you, but SBAs are ultimately responsible for designing and completing their field project. You’ll get out of it what you put into it.

Week 10 - Earn the Sustainable Building Advisor (SBA) Credential

The SBA Exam measures your retention of the core curriculum. It’s a 100-question multiple choice exam you take on your own computer, at whatever time is most convenient for you. This is an open-book exam. You have ninety minutes to take it. A passing score is 70% or higher.

After The Course - Feedback and Additional Resources

No matter how great this course is, we know it's just one part of a bigger journey. In this module we'll start thinking about what comes next. You'll provide feedback on the course, request a certificate of completion, and learn about additional resources. Don't forget that you'll have access to this course—and all updates we make to it—for at least a year. Feel free to come back as much as you like to continue learning, and please stay in touch. Let us know what you do next and how we can help.

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Free Lecture: Low Carbon Building

What good is a “Net-Zero” building if just the act of making it dumps a huge load of CO2 into the air? The urgency of climate disruption demands that we reduce impacts now, not slowly over the next 50 years. Here we will look beyond reducing operating ene

Download a free tool used in this course

Sustainable Building Advisor (SBA) Student Manual

Author: Ann Edminster

45 Practice Questions for the Sustainable Building Advisor (SBA) Exam

Author: Ann Edminster