CSBR College of Design

Center for Sustainable Building Research

Working to transform the built environment in ways that provide for the ecological, economic, and social needs of the present without compromising those of the future.


Latest News

September 2016

Sustainability is Dead, Architecture as a (Re)Generator. Please join us for a symposium on October 27 and 28 that will explore the future of sustainable design and what it means for the practice of architecture. The symposium features keynote presentations "Redesigning Innvoation" by Lance Hosey, FAIA, Perkins Eastman Architects, Washington DC and "Architecture as a (Re)Generator" byRichard Graves, AIA, Director and Associate Professor, University of Minnesota; along with three panel sessions by internationally respected speakers. The symposium will take place at Rapson Hall and The Commons Hotel. To register, click here.


March 2016

Louise Goldberg and Garrett Mosiman published a paper titled The Energy Savings Potential of Optimized Slab-On-Grade Foundation Insulation Retrofits in the Summer 2015 issue of the Journal of Green Building.  The research modeled the energy and cost performance of nine foundation insulation upgrade options in four climates.  In addition to energy and cost analysis, comfort and moisture performance benefits are described. Goldberg is a Senior Research Associate with the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering and Mosiman is a Senior Research Fellow with the Center for Sustainable Building Research. The research is an extension of work done under the Department of Energy's Building America program.


February 2016

William Weber, Sr. Research Fellow, facilitated the daylong workshop Co-Creating the Next Generation of Housing Innovation in Detroit on February 3. The workshop brought together industry experts in affordable housing, health, finance and sustainability; the group explored how a national cross-disciplinary network could accelerate innovation in the affordable housing sector. The networks vision is, “…to move to an immanent future in which all housing is healthy, high performing, sustainable, and affordable.  Aligning, leveraging, and open sourcing our intellectual assets will radically accelerate housing innovation that significantly benefits human and natural systems’ health and wellbeing, while improving our organizations’ operations and financial strength.” The event was sponsored by Enterprise Community Partners and held at the Kresge Foundation.


December 2015

The University of Minnesota School of Architecture's sustainable design program has been ranked #5 in the nation by Design Intelligence in their 2016 America's Best Architecture & Design Schools survey, recognizing the program as a leader in sustainable design education. The annual survey by the Design Futures Council included responses from leading practitioners across four design fields: architecture, landscape architecture, interior design and industrial design from a total of 1,426 professinal practice organizations. The in-depth survey measures which programs practitioners feel are doing the best job at preparing students for their professions. 





November 2015

In the MN Daily, Dan Handeen commented on the benefits of environmental friendly designs in multi-family apartments for both renters and landlords.




November 2015

CSBR at the AIA-MN Convention "Creative Distruption"

On Thursday, November 12, Richard Graves, CSBR Director will be presenting two sessions at the AIA-MN Convention in Minneapolis, MN. The first session is "Policy to Practice: Building Carbon Neutrality in Minnesota" from 8:30am - 10:00am, along with Janet Streff, Director of the Minnesota State Energy Office; Rick Carter, Senior Vice President, LHB and Becky Alexander, Associate, LHB. The second session is "The Next Decade in Green: Resilient Design" from 10:15am - 11:45am and will be presented with Laura Millberg, Principal Planner for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Doug Pierce, Senior Associate with Perkins + Will.


Rolf Jacobson, Research Fellow will also be presenting "Design High Performance Walls for Cold Climates" with Dave Bryan, Third Level Design on Friday, November 13 from 8:30am - 11:45am.




October 2015

Richard Graves presented about creating a pathway to net zero energy buildigns as a solition to climate change at the Wisconsin Energy Institute's 2015 Energy Summit.


October 2015

William Weber presented "Cold Climate, High Performance Affordable Housing" at the International GreenBuild Europe conference in Verona, Italy.


September 2015

Best of B3: Celebrating Minnesota's Sustainable Design Leaders

Congratulations to the Best of B3winners that were honored at the inaugural luncheon on September 23, 2015 by CSBR, and the Departments of Administration and Commerce.




September 2015

Best of B3 Celebration to Recognize Top Sustainable Projects and Leaders in Minnesota

The State of Minnesota is leading the nation in requiring 70% more energy efficient State buildings in an effort to have all State construction carbon neutral by 2030. Designed to increase energy efficiency and sustainability, the State of Minnesota’s Buildings, Benchmarks, and Beyond (B3) programs were developed for and are required on State-funded projects in Minnesota. On September 23, 2015, the first annual Best of B3 Recognition Luncheon will be held at International Market Square in Minneapolis to recognize the achievements of B3 program participants. Three nominees will be recognized in each of six Best of B3 categories. One award winner in each category will be announced at the Luncheon.

For more information about B3, contact Richard Graves (rmgraves@umn.edu, 612.626.8783) or visit www.b3mn.org.



B3 and Sustainable Buildings

July 2015

The Center for Sustainable Building Research has been selected by Enterprise as a member of their Green Communities Technical Assistance Provider Network. Enterprise chose CSBR based on our teams demonstrated expertise in the design, construction, rehabilitation, and operations of green affordable housing. Specifically, our work on integrated design; data analysis and portfolio benchmarking; training; and green operations and management.



April 2015

The B3 and SB 2030 programs have been recognized by the Environmental Initiative awards for their impact on improving the environment in Minnesota. The programs have been selected as a finalist in the Energy and Climate category.


B3 and Sustainable Buildings

SB Energy Standard


February 2015

CSBR's role in the Sustainable Buildings 2030 program, a progressive energy conservation program designed to significantly reduce the energy and carbon in Minnesota state bonded projects, was featured in The U helps roll out state building energy standards in the Minnesota Daily. The article highlights the goals of the statewide program as well as the savings that have occured since implementation.


SB Energy Standard

January 2015

The Sustainable Buildings 2030 program that puts Minnesota buildings on the path to acheive net zero energy by 2030 was featured in the Design at Minnesota D@MN News: CSBR Helps Roll Out Next Round of MN Energy Efficiency Standards. As of January 1, 2015, state-funded projects that begin schematic design will need to achieve an energy and carbon redution of 70%.


Sustainable Building 2030 Professional Design Series: Getting to 70% Energy Reductions will be offered this spring for professionals that are interested in learning more about strategies that can be used to reach the reduction goals.


SB Energy Standard

December 2014

Richard Graves, CSBR Director and Associate Professor, presented Creating a Regenerative Future to the College of Design through the Design at Noon Series.



Richard Graves, Director of CSBR

September 2014

An article in Finance & Commerce Sustainable: B3 guidelines are MN’s alternative to LEED lauds the B3 and Sustainable Buildings 2030 program for its performance based requirements with an eye on the state’s climate and building industry. The article highlights recently completed project in St.Paul, which sustainability requirements for city supported projects include B3.

B3 and Sustainable Buildings

September 2014


Gongratulations to John Carmody, the founding Director of the Center for Sustainable Building Research, as the recipient of a 2014 AIA Minnesota Special Award. The award recognizes John’s work in elevating the issues surrounding sustainable building local and nationally through research, outreach, and education.


2014 AIA Minnesota Special Award Recipients (PDF)




John Carmody


July 2014

Richard Graves, AIA, LEED BD+C, was announced today as the Director of the Center for Sustainable Building Research (CSBR), in the College of Design, at the University of Minnesota. Graves takes over the role previously held by John Carmody, founding director, who retired at the end of last year. Graves will also hold the title of Associate Professor in the School of Architecture. He officially assumed both new roles this week.

Richard Graves, Director of CSBR


June 2014

Jonee Kulman Brigham will be moving to the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Minnesota to spend a year as a Visiting Scholar in the Art Education Program. Brigham will be working on a collaborative project with River's Edge Academy, a charter environmental high school, to apply the Earth Systems Journey curriculum framework to the topic of water flows through the school - connecting it upstream and downstream to the Mississippi River. This work is partly funded by her Resident Fellowship from Institute on the Environment. Brigham will also be working with Dr. James Bequette, head of the art education program to explore the role of art and design in environmental education. Brigham is continuing to work in other areas of green schools and environmental education and welcomes conversations about common interests and potential collaborations. Brigham’s email remains kulma002@umn.edu and she will continue to update her webpage.


Jonee Kulman Brigham

December 2013

Revised Foundation Design Handbook website is live
A revised and updated Foundation Design Handbook website has been launched.  The content was edited and revised by Garrett Mosiman and Daniel Handeen of CSBR, with funding from Oak Ridge National Laboratories (ORNL).  Changes to the original handbook included a major content revision to reflect current building science understanding, and a set of new, 3-dimensional construction detail drawings.  In addition, six new foundation construction animations were created, along with four foundation insulation retrofit case studies.



May 2013

New Efficient Windows Collaborative web site launched

A newly revised web site and Window Selection Tool that assists designers, builders and homeowners to select energy efficient windows for residential buildings has been launched at www.efficientwindows.org. The web site was developed by Kerry Haglund and John Carmody of CSBR and is funded through Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the US Department of Energy. A similar web site with the Façade Design Tool for windows in commercial buildings was launched last year at http://www.commercialwindows.umn.edu.



April 2013

SB2030 Advisory Group Meeting held at University of Minnesota

CSBR and its partners presented the latest developments on the SB2030 and other related sustainability programs at the University of Minnesota. The Advisory Group for the project consists of representatives from government, utilities, the nonprofit sector, design professions and the construction industry. A new web site with a case study database will be launched in June 2013.



April 2013

Second Annual SB2030 Training Class Completed

As part of the SB2030 program, 38 participants completed the ten-week, 40-hour AIA+2030 Professional Series Training TMcourse at the University of Minnesota. The class included architects, designers, engineers and other construction industry professionals.



March 2013

Foundation Design Handbook web site launched

A new web site has been launched at Oak Ridge national Laboratory with the latest information on the design of basements, crawl spaces and slab-on-grade foundations for residential buildings. CSBR staff John Carmody, Garrett Mosiman and Dan Handeen developed the handbook with Pat Huelman of the Cold Climate Housing Program. This handbook is a major nationally-known resource building on work begun in the 1980s. A second phase of the handbook with enhanced construction details is nearly complete and will be launched this fall.




December 2012

CSBR holds two stakeholder workshops

Two stakeholder meetings were held in December 2012 to discuss the future direction of the Center for Sustainable Building Research at the University of Minnesota. The first workshop included invitees from within the University of Minnesota and the second included representatives from government, the nonprofit sector, the design professions and the construction industry.




November 2012

John Carmody, James Lutz and Liliana Ninaquispe Romero present Haiti project work at PLEA Conference

In a paper entitled, “Two Designs for Sustainable Communities in Haiti,” the authors describe work undertaken in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake for two sustainable communities in Haiti.  The first, Santo, a new community for 500 families near Léogâne, the epicenter of the 2010 earthquake, completed construction of Phase I of its master plan in early 2012.  The second, the reconstruction of the Delmas 32 neighborhood in Port-au-Prince, is in the advanced stages of planning.





August  2012
Jonee Kulman Brigham to present at Mississippi River Forum on Downstream/Upstream and Systems Journey Environmental Education Framework

Jonee Kulman Brigham will make a presentation of “Downstream/Upstream: A Journey Through the Urban Water Cycle " at the National Park Service’s Mississippi River Forum, Friday, August 24, 2012. 8:00-9:30 a.m. The talk is free to the public with light breakfast provided. Please RSVP to Lark Weller lark_weller@nps.gov. The presentation will describe the "Downstream/Upstream" project recently on exhibit at the Architecture and Landscape Architecture Library, and the "System Journey" Curriculum Model Framework that is based on Downstream/Upstream. The place-based approach reveals a student's specific water infrastructure and is interdisciplinary, incorporating participatory public art and transformative journey design to enliven and personalize environmental curriculum. The talk was also given at the St. Cloud Mississippi River Forum on July 27, 2012. See the Link to Mississippi River Forum Description for more information.



June 2012
Jonee Kulman Brigham to present at Minnesota Association of Environmental Education Conference, June 21, 2012, Itasca, MN


Jonee Kulman Brigham will make a presentation of "Art, Story, and Infrastructure: A Model for Experiential Interconnection in Environmental Education" at the Minnesota Association of Environmental Education Conference, June 21, 2012, Itasca, MN. The presentation will describe the "Downstream/Upstream" project (currently on exhibit at the Architecture and Landscape Architecture Library) and the "System Journey" Curriculum Model Framework that is based on Downstream/Upstream. The place-based approach reveals a student's specific water infrastructure and is interdisciplinary, incorporating participatory public art and transformative journey design to enliven and personalize environmental curriculum.



February 2012
Virajita Singh's piece on "Teaching for Transformation" was posted on University of Minnesota's Techniques in Learning and Teaching (TILT) Blog


As a teacher I think about transformation as a process of entering new states of being and am struck by its power particularly as I witness it in the classroom. The world of education – of teaching and learning – has an implicit goal of transformation...." Read more at: uminntilt.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/teaching-for-transformation.

February 2012
Patrick Smith and Rolf Jacobson presenting at the 2012 Duluth Energy Design Conference & Expo


Patrick Smith and Rolf Jacobson, both Research Fellows at the CSBR, will be presenting at the 2012 Duluth Energy Design Conference & Expo, February 21- 22. Pat's presentation will focus on the analysis of utility bills for determining and tracking energy performance in multifamily buildings, using several local affordable housing developments as case studies. Rolf's presentation will investigate the characteristics of several types of high-performance residential building envelopes, including SIP panels, ICFs, and advanced framing with spray foam. Issues discussed will include R-value, moisture performance, thermal bridging, and life cycle environmental impacts.


January 2012
CSBR Launches Commercial Windows Web Site


The Center for Sustainable Building Research (CSBR), in conjunction with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), the Alliance to Save Energy and the U.S. Department of Energy, officially launched www.commercialwindows.org - a state-of-the-art website that provides critical information and performance data on the energy efficiency, interior environment, and technical considerations that influence commercial window design decisions. Read full press release.


January 2012
EnergyScoreCards Minnesota


EnergyScoreCards Minnesota is seeking multifamily building owners to receive up to two years of free access to the EnergyScoreCards tool—an online service to help reduce utility spending and consumption of multifamily building. This opportunity is available in select utility service territories. Participants will also receive information about energy savings programs and opportunities. The goal of the two-year pilot project is to understand the impact of utility benchmarking - comparing building performance with similar buildings—and tracking energy and water use over time at multifamily buildings.


22 owner/managers with more than 8,700 units of housing expressed interest in our first week—join them! To learn more about the project or enroll in the program, visit the project website at www.energyscorecardsmn.com or download a flyer here.


The project is a partnership between Minnesota Housing, Minnesota Green Communities, University of Minnesota Center for Sustainable Building Research (CSBR), the Center for Energy and Environment (CEE), and EnergyScoreCards™—an online energy management tool for multifamily buildings. It is funded by grants from Xcel Energy and Minnesota Housing.


November 14 and 15, 2011
8:30am - 4:00pm
NorthernSTAR Building America Partnership Expert Meetings


The NorthernSTAR Building America Partnership is pleased to host two experts meetings on November 14 and 15, 2011 from 8:30am - 4:00pm. The meetings will bring together experts from Building America teams and other related programs and research activities will gather together to share information and determine future research issues and needs.


November 14: Windows Options for New and Existing Homes, 140 Nolte, University of Minnesota


November 15: Foundations: Research Results and Builder's Handbook Review, University Hotel Minneapolis (formerly Radisson)


Please register for one or both sessions.


Saturday, November 5, 2011
8:00am - 5:00pm
Sustainable Neighborhood Design Conference
100 Rapson Hall


Sponsored by the Center for Sustainable Building Research and the Metropolitan Design Center, this one-day conference will include presentations on local sustainable neighborhood projects at UMORE Park in Rosemount, the University District Alliance, The Ford Plant Site in St. Paul, and the Eco-Village in north Minneapolis.

International Speakers 12:30 - 1:45pm




Stellan Fryxell
Swedish architect and project manager for the renowned sustainable development, Hammarby Sjostad, near Stockholm.


Malena Karlsson
Information officer at the Stockholm Glasshouse - the information center for the Hammarby district. More about Hammarby Sjostad.

Cost: Free but Registration required


October 2011
Jonee Kulman Brigham will be presenting a poster at the University of Minnesota Student Sustainability Symposium


On Wednesday, October 26, from 2:30-6:00 pm, over forty students from eight different colleges will be sharing their sustainability research at the Student Sustainability Symposium sponsored by Institute on the Environment (IonE). To register or learn more about the event. Jonee Kulman Brigham, who is also a Liberal Studies Student at the U will be sharing the progress of research on an Institute on the Environment Mini Grant, "Art, Story and Infrastructure: A Model for Experiential Interconnection in Environmental Education."


September 16, 2011
Kerry Haglund from CSBR staff will be representing the EWC at Greenbuild


The Efficient Windows Collaborative (EWC) will be exhibiting at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, October 4-7, 2011 in Toronto, Canada. The EWC will be in booth T-9 in the South Building. Come visit if you are attending Greenbuild.


September 7, 2011
John Carmody named IonE Fellow


Fourteen University of Minnesota faculty from 13 departments and eight colleges and schools have been named resident fellows of IonE. Representing a broad range of disciplines, the new fellows join 32 others in taking on the task of building bridges across disciplines to solve environmental challenges. They begin their three-year appointments with IonE this month. Read entire press release.


CSBR - Center for Sustainable Building Research:
1425 University Avenue SE, Suite 115
Minneapolis, MN 55455
voice: 612.626.2737
fax: 612.626.7424