Healthy Materials & Sustainable Buildings Online Certificate Program

June 2018–Ongoing

Finding healthier materials to specify for your building projects isn’t easy. It can be time-consuming and resource intensive. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start because there’s just too much information to sift through, or the information is too technical.

"An astonishing pool of information" - Leila B., Designer (Austin, TX)

With this in mind, Healthy Materials Lab has created a four-course online certificate program in Healthier Materials and Sustainable Buildings to equip you with the right tools to make informed decisions and supply the necessary background information on basic construction materials, their chemical makeups and their relationship to human health. Each online course is completely self-paced. Completing the entire certificate satisfies a full year of AIA Continuing Education Credits.


Q. I’m having difficulty enrolling, what should I do?

Please click on the green “Get Started” button in your “welcome” email and follow the steps below to complete the enrollment:
1) Go to* Please bookmark this address.
2) Username - use the full email address that this message is being sent to.
3) Password - click the Forgot Password link and you will receive a link at your email address to create a new password.
4) After resetting the password please log in to Canvas at logged in you will be able to see and access your course(s) in Canvas.

Q: Who should take this course?

The courses have been created for all of us who are interested in and involved in the design, creation, maintenance, renovation, and break down of the built environment. Even experienced architects and designers will learn new and useful information about the burgeoning field of human health and building products.

Q: I have a full-time job, is this certificate designed for people like me?

Yes! We have created this program with busy professionals like you in mind. This is a self-paced course, so you can take it whenever your schedule permits.

Q: I am currently enrolled as a student at The New School how can I enroll in these courses for free?

Yes! All four courses are available to currently enrolled TNS students for FREE! Please complete this form to register.

Q: I am a faculty member or employee at TNS, how can I enroll in these courses for free?

Please follow TNS guidelines to apply for a tuition waiver

Q: Can you explain what it means that the certificate is 4 classes & 16 hours?

The program consists of 4 courses - Materials and Human Health, with each course averaging 3.5 - 5 hours, with a combined length of all of the videos at approximately 16 hours.

Q: How much work is involved in taking these courses?

Students are required to watch all of the videos, and there are short quizzes at the end of each section in courses 1 and 2, on which you must score 100% in order to progress to the next section. These quizzes are not difficult, and can be retaken them as many times as you feel are necessary. The courses also include takeaways and references to support what is discussed in the videos, which you can download and refer back to during and after the course.

Q: At what rate can I take the classes? For example, can I take one class per semester?

Yes, this is a self-paced program, so you can take the classes at whatever rate works best for you.

Q: What is the recommended timeframe for taking one of these courses?

Though this program is self-paced, we recommend allowing two weeks to finish each course.

Q: Do I have a time limit for completing each course?

You will have access to each course for the duration of the semester, after which point the online interface will be open for review only for an additional 60 days.We recommend allowing two weeks to finish one of these courses.

Q: What are the semester dates? Are they similar to any other typical academic calendar?

Yes, the dates follow The New School academic calendar.

Q: If I’m interested in taking a course, but the semester has already started. Can I still enroll?

Yes, you can enroll up until two weeks before the end of the semester, as two weeks is the time period we recommend for taking one of these courses. Enrolling in a course earlier in the term, however, allows you more time to reference the materials.

Q: Do I have to take the courses in order?

Yes — the information in these courses is cumulative, and they are designed to be taken in the sequence in which they are offered.

Q: Do I have to take all four courses?

Although all four courses are required to receive the certificate, you can choose to take as many of the four as you would like. Because they must be taken in order, you can’t take courses 2, 3, or 4 without completing the course(s) that come before it.

Q: I will be taking the course from outside of the U.S. Will the time difference be a problem?

No, you can take the course whenever is most convenient for you, regardless of your location and time zone, as all materials are pre-recorded and accessible online.

Q: In what format are the classes delivered? Via what platform? How does student/instructor communication happen?

The courses are delivered via Canvas, The New School’s virtual learning platform, and the content is delivered via videos, quizzes, downloadable PDFs, and links to relevant resources. There is also a discussion board at the end of each module, which you can use to ask our team questions about what you’re learning.

Q: Do I need to get a certain grade on the quizzes in order to pass the course?

The courses are not graded. However, there is a lot of information packed into each video. After each module of the course, there is a quiz on the material covered in that section. To make sure you don’t miss anything important, you have to score 100% on each quiz before moving on to the next module. You can repeat the quizzes as many times as is necessary in order to achieve this.

Q: Are these courses for credit?

These courses are not for university academic credit. However, professionals can receive AIA continuing education credits for their course completion.

Q: Is there some sort of certificate at the end?

You will receive a certificate of completion at the end.

Q: What is meant by AIA CEU HSW Credits?

Courses 1 and 2 Have 4 AIA continuing education units/credits associated with them, courses 3 and 4 have 5 each. As a registered member of the American Institute of Architects, one is required to amass CEUs to keep their license active. The credits that are available through our courses fall in the category of Health, Wellness and Safety (HWS).



This innovative program is the first of its kind and brings together a group of interdisciplinary experts at the top of their fields to cover every aspect of healthier materials and sustainable buildings.

Alison Mears
Amanda Kaminsky
Arlene Blum
Avery Lindeman
Bhawani Venkataraman
Bill Walsh
Catherine Bobenhausen
Darcy Bender
David Andrews
Dr. Maida Galvez
Jeffrey Seigel
Jim Vallette
John Warner
Jonsara Ruth
Ken Geiser
Laura Vandenberg
Lewis Perkins
Martha Lewis
Mikhail Davis
Certified Biomimicry Specialist
Ogonnaya Dotson-Newman
Russell Perry
Sean Ragiel
Susan Kaplan
Tom Lent
Wendy Vittori
↑  Glossary