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* Sustainable Buildings: Introduction to Sustainable Design and Construction - Costa Rica
Multiple Sites, Costa Rica (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Winter Break
Budget Sheets Winter Break
CSU Deadlines / Program Dates:
There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Grade Point Average:
Language(s) of Instruction:
Program Coordinator:
Sarah Vowels Program Type: CSU Short Term Program
Areas of Study:
Engineering, Health and Human Sciences, Natural Resources
Program Description:

Sustainable Buildings:

Introduction to Sustainable Design and Construction

in Costa Rica

Previously called: Principles and Practices of Sustainability

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The winter break program will focus on the principle components of sustainable design and construction, energy, healthy buildings, natural resources, and other environmental issues. The participants will gain knowledge on the best sustainable practices through renowned international examples and will execute a short project utilizing those principles.

Program At-a-Glance

WHEN: Not offered January 2018.  The program is currently planning to run in January 2019.

CREDITS: All committed students will be registered for CON 450: Sustainable Design and Construction (3 credits) through CSU's Division of Continuing Education. All tuition and program charges will be billed at the start of the spring term.

COST: See Budget Sheet for details. The program fee includes tuition and fees for three credit hours through the Colorado State University Division of Continuing Education, lodging and most meals, medical insurance, on-site transportation, and faculty support. Program fees do not include international airfare, Costa Rica airport departure tax, passport, books, and personal spending money.

SCHOLARSHIPS: Applicants for this program are eligible for scholarships through the Office of International Programs.

PROGRAM LEADERS: Dr. Rodolfo Valdes Vasquez, Assistant Professor in Construction Management at Colorado State University and Dr. Svetlana Olbina, Associate Professor in Construction Management.
ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS: Minimum 2.75 GPA. Instructor approval. Good disciplinary standing. Limited to 12 participants.

Academic Overview

This course is open to all majors. This program is especially geared toward students interested in interior design, construction management, landscape architecture, architecture, engineering and related disciplines. Students will travel throughout Costa Rica to learn about the principal components of sustainable design and construction, energy, healthy buildings, natural resources, and other environmental issues.  Participants will work with local Costa Rican university students to learn about the best sustainable practices through renowned international examples. Coursework will be primarily experiential based and include field work, group projects and community based service-learning.

Through the course students will create a personal definition of sustainability, a personal mission statement, and environmentally sustainable action steps. Class and textbook notes, in-class assignments, and reflections will be recorded in a notebook/journal. Each student will participate on a team project focused on eco-tourism and sustainable design and construction.

Course Objectives: The objectives of this course are to focus on the breadth of sustainable design and construction and assist each student to develop a personal definition and vision statement for use in their career. Students will increase their awareness of sustainable practices in: Building, design and construction, land-use planning, site and landscape development.

  • Examine healthy systems and equipment for buildings
  • Explore examples of notable sustainable practice case studies, especially sites in Costa Rica
  • Familiarize oneself with decision-making processes based on sustainable practices
  • Involve students in a practical, sustainable design project to further the research and development of sustainable building
Students will be graded on quality of assignment and project work along with classroom participation.

Tentative Itinerary: Syllabus and Itinerary 2016. Updated version for 2017 coming soon!


Costa Rica, known for its natural beauty, extraordinary diversity of flora and fauna, social and political stability, high educational levels, and efficient infrastructure and services, provides microclimates in which to locate sustainable learning.  The program will be based out of EARTH Univeristy and  take students to diverse locations throughout Costa Rica including El Guacimo and Puerto Viejo to visit examples of green and sustainable building practices.


Housing and Meals 

Students will be housed in dorms at EARTH University for the majority of the program.  A three day homestay with local Costa Rican families is also included as well as two nights in hotels.   Most meals and transportation are included in the program fee.

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