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Alternative Material Construction Systems for Sustainability


Alternative Material Construction Systems for Sustainability

Number: BCT 560
Credits: 3
Format: In person

Semester: Spring
Meeting Times: Monday & Wednesday 1:00PM-2:15
Room: Olver Design Building 162

LMS Link


Munkaila Musah,

Assistant Professor

Office: Olver Design Building 256
Phone: (413) 545-0267

Office Hours | Faculty Page | LinkedIn

Course Description

Sustainable, low-carbon construction has become a major focus in the industry over the last years with many builders and homeowners looking for new and different materials and methods of construction that can potentially offset energy costs, promote the use of local materials, and be adaptive to their environment. To meet this shift in demand, there is a need to look beyond conventional materials and embrace alternative materials and construction systems that can then blend with current technologies, which can improve embodied carbon and construction costs. Through real-world problems and hands-on lab projects and demonstrations, students in construction, sustainability, architecture, and engineering are introduced to different types of modular construction as well as alternative building materials, such as CLT, SIPs, adobe, rammed earth construction, log, bamboo, hemp masonry, and strawbale construction. This course will use global examples of such buildings to provide a thorough understanding of the construction processes, limitations, and advantages.

Learning Goals

• Discover and appreciate the importance of alternative materials in green construction
• Explain and identify the processes of renewable material construction methods for
sustainability including CLT, compressed earth building, log construction, straw bale
construction, bamboo, hemp masonry, and cob construction.
• Be familiar with different alternative material manufacturing processes through global
examples of such buildings and hands-on activities
• Understand the physical limitations of the various materials under study
• Know the relevant history of each material
• List at least 3 advantages of each construction method and how they are linked to
• State at least 3 limitations for each alternative material in construction


No Textbooks Required

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