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Sustainable Design Faculty and Alums Launch New Book

Sustainable Design Basics” is more than your run-of-the-mill sustainable-design textbook.

It’s a student-friendly “climate-diverse guide that transforms readers from sustainable-design novices to whole-solution problem solvers” created by two Thomas Jefferson University alumni, a current professor and an adjunct who has educated students here off-and-on for years.

“This book has a real Jefferson feel,” said Fleming, the co-creator and director of the university’s award-winning Master of Science in Sustainable Design Program.

The comprehensive textbook – from authors Sharon B. Jaffe, Fleming, Mark Karlen and Saglinda H. Roberts – is hot off the presses, having been released in January. According to Fleming, it’s already “a staple in the program here,” and other universities have adopted the book. That’s because of the important nature of the issues it seeks to address.

“Given the environmental threats that society is facing, new courses of action are required to stem the tide of climate change and redirect society towards a sustainable future,” Fleming said. 

“This book presents a transformative design process to achieve net-zero energy buildings without compromising important aesthetic and cultural goals,” he added. “It outlines a new approach to teaching studio. We will be using it for our net-zero first studios and living building design studios.”

Jaffe, the lead author of the book, said that the peers’ familiarity with one another – and the topics being addressed – helped create a textbook released at a very important time, when “built environment” takes on a major role in addressing the climate crisis.

She noted that the concept for the book came when the authors were “brainstorming how to get students to understand these concepts in a way that they can apply it without their heads exploding.”

“What makes this different than all other sustainability books out there is that we looked at a delivery method to help students organize massive amounts of information in a step-by-step fashion as they’re trying to understand the issues they’ll face,” said Jaffe, an adjunct professor in the interior architecture program. “It takes them step-by-step through understanding a problem, and how to work through it, starting the design with sustainability already in mind. Then, we run through the project the way we would in a classroom, making it as easy as possible, even for someone who isn’t deeply immersed in sustainable design.”

“Sustainable Design Basics” is printed by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. The e-book is listed at $56.99 and print copies start at $70.