Marie A. North at construction site.

So What Exactly is a CSBA?

A Certified Sustainable Building Advisor (CSBA) is a professional with a strong interest in sustainable planning and design of the built environment. As a CSBA, I can evaluate, advise, and offer suggestions about how to lessen your environmental and carbon footprint while making smart economic decisions for your home, business, or non-profit community.

Professional Training

A CSBA (Certified Sustainable Building Advisor) is a professional who has received advanced training in a program initially developed by the National Sustainable Building Advisor Program in Seattle, Washington. The first SBA course was offered in 1999 by Seattle City Light and Seattle Central Community College. The success of the first course prompted requests from other areas of the country. Additional courses were introduced in 2004 and taught by established professionals who successfully utilized sustainable techniques and technologies in their own businesses.

HeatSpringSince 1999, over 1000 individuals have passed the certification exam to become Certified Sustainable Building Advisors. The SBA program emphasizes a systems approach to design, constructing, and operating high performance buildings. Now offered by HeatSpring, of Ann Arbor, MI, more program information is available on their website (SBA course). The SBA course has been reviewed and approved as a Level 400 (Mastery) Program by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).

Until 2013, the SBA Course Program was offered by community colleges and, locally, through Bucks County Community College. Taught by exceptional local instructors, the program included in-depth visits to sustainable building sites. A large portion of the course is the development and completion of a TEAM PROJECT ANALYSIS (TPA). Classes are divided into teams with each team proposing a real project to analyze and then apply appropriate sustainable techniques covered in the course.

My team chose to design (from concept through design development) a modular classroom which would be built with sustainable materials and components and powered by solar PVs. The design was requested by the land manager of a remote site owned by a school district. He envisioned a portable building where science classes could be conducted, and environmental education events for district and township residents could be held. We were asked to incorporate the beautiful rural views into our design and to minimize the impact of the building on the nearby wetland feature. The classroom included components which would involve the students in some of the construction and continued operation and maintenance of the building. A vegetated roof and outdoor deck overlooking the wetland area were included in the project.

"That land is a community is the basic concept of ecology, but that land is to be loved and respected is an extension of ethics."
Aldo Leopold, Foreword, A Sand County Almanac

Thank you for your interest!



Other Resources

Books and Websites

The Solar House: Passive Heating and Cooling  by Daniel D. Chiras


South Whitehall Township Green Advisory Council

February 2020