Date of Award


Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Sustainable Design (MSSD)




Vivian Loftness

Second Advisor

Azizan Aziz

Third Advisor

Erica Cochran


This research is intended to help meet the growing demand for green schools that foster sustainability education by aggregating and cross-analyzing specific pedagogical strategies from buildings currently being used as teaching tools for sustainability. Over 350 specific teaching strategies were collected from 15 of the world’s highest performing academic buildings using Anne Taylor’s theoretical framework for linking architecture with sustainability education. These strategies were collected through interviews, literature reviews, web content, course curriculums, photographs, and site visits. This research also analyzed current educational theory that can be extended to the physical built environment, which was used to qualitatively analyze each pedagogical strategy.

To specifically focus the data collection process, 36 of the most important sustainability issues related to the built environment were also compiled for this research and used to organize the teaching strategies. Additionally, four thematic categories (Multisensory, Outreach, Curricular, and Research) were created to organize the strategies based on their different educational goal, method of knowledge transfer, and intended audience. Finally, the 368 teaching strategies were cross-analyzed to determine the most common overall pedagogical strategies currently used.

Educators, designers, and facility planners should use the information presented in this paper as a foundation for innovation in educational planning and design innovation. Also, the most common teaching strategies should be considered a benchmark for future buildings that teach. This list is not exhaustive, however, as the potential strategies for utilizing a building as a teaching tool is likely limitless. Therefore, all of the collected teaching strategies (over 350, attached in the Adobe Portfolio) are presented as individual design cards to display the pedagogical possibilities of buildings that teach and to inspire innovating strategies in the future.