CSBR College of Design


Green Schools and Environmental Education (GSEE)

Description: http://www.csbr.umn.edu/images/photo_gallery_minnesota-sm.jpg  CSBR  Description: http://www.csbr.umn.edu/images/bell_collage.jpg  CSBR


CSBR’s work in Green Schools and Environmental Education (GSEE) supports sustainable educational facility performance and environmental education related to the designed environment, integrating the two areas into a single project  where possible.  CSBR brings a broad background in sustainable building design technology, guidelines, and design assistance to serve the educational sector in facility improvement. We are also passionate about education and outreach and the lessons the built environment has to offer environmental education.


At any age, from Pre-K to post-secondary,  the conveniences of the built environment can make interdependence with natural systems hard to see, but not if the built environment is interpreted and used as a tool to reveal interconnection and teach systems thinking.  There is a great opportunity to incorporate “designed environment literacy” into broader efforts at eco-literacy and environmental awareness that goes beyond celebrating notable green features, to understanding the built environment as part of larger social, economic, and ecological systems.  Even in an “average” building, design and the designed environment can be used to better connect students with nature and make the building function as a learning experiment  for explorations in areas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) as well as the arts and humanities.  The process of greening existing learning environments or designing new green learning environments offers even more opportunity to use those built environments as a learning laboratory while increasing pride of place and connection to local community.  


CSBR brings experience in design assistance, building evaluation, program and guideline development, teaching, outreach, and tool development for tracking progress and educating on outcomes. We connect with and draw from collaborators across the university and beyond to bring needed resources to each project.


Initiatives and Projects

CSBR Regional Needs and Activity Analysis in Green Schools and Environmental Education (in development)
CSBR “Green School Systems Journey: Interdisciplinary, Place-Based Collaboration for Education and Change” (initiative in development)
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Art, Story, and Infrastructure: A Model for Experiential Interconnection in Environmental Education
This project gathers an interdisciplinary team of University faculty and outside partners around the topic of how to use place-based interaction with infrastructure, interpreted through art, story, and science to create an experiential and informed sense of interconnection of our daily use of resources with the engineering and natural systems in which they interact. The project lays the essential groundwork needed to develop a replicable curriculum model based on a concurrent research process and demonstration project. The work of the project will be available for use and further development by the environmental education community, schools, and other researchers.

 Nature-Based Play Spaces in Crookston and Warren, Minnesota

Description: http://www.csbr.umn.edu/images/solardecathlon_s.jpg U of M Solar Decathlon: ICON Solar House Environmental Education Exhibit
The U of MN was selected as one of 20 teams worldwide to compete in the 2009 Solar Decathlon. The Solar Decathlon is hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy. It joins 20 college and university teams in a competition to design, build, and operate the most attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered house to inform and excite the public about renewable technology.
Description: http://www.csbr.umn.edu/images/bell_s.jpg Sustainable Shelter—Dwelling Within the Forces of Nature
A new exhibit about sustainable building at the Bell Museum will explore the ways that the built environment interacts with natural systems. Exhibit runs October 16, 2010- May 15, 2011.


Other CSBR Areas that Support and Inform GSEE:

  • Campus Greening Assessment & Education
  • Post-Secondary Sustainable Design Education
  • Professional Sustainable Design Education
  • Sustainable Guidelines and Rating Systems
  • Design for Community Resilience




Affiliations and Memberships


Related Current and Recent Events

  • Exhibit: Downstream/Upstream: A Journey Through the Urban Water Cycle
    May 12 – August 8, 2012, Architecture and Landscape Architecture Library, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  • Mississippi River Forum: Downstream/Upstream: A Journey Through the Urban Water Cycle
    Friday, July 27, 2012. 8:00-9:30 a.m. (St. Cloud)
    Friday, August 24, 2012. 8:00-9:30 a.m. (Twin Cities)
  • 2012 APWA MN Fall Conference (American Public Works Association, Minnesota Chapter)
    “Downstream/Upstream: Fostering Appreciation of Water/Sewer Infrastructure through Creative Collaboration,” November 15, 2012, Co-presenting with Bill Dircks, Public Works Superintendent, City of Little Canada Water Department


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