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Integrating Sustainability into Construction Education

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Construction 1: Special Topics in Construction Education: BIM, Simulation, Sustainability, and Safety

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Paper Authors


Jamie R. Metzinger Purdue University

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Construction Management PhD Student at Purdue University

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Jessica Anderson Cabral Purdue University


Bradley Louis Benhart Purdue University

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Brad Benhart has been a mainstay in the construction industry for over 25 years. He has been involved in all aspects of construction including: healthcare, commercial, residential, international, and all related aspects of training and education. In 2009, Benhart furthered his commitment and passion to construction education by accepting a professorship at Purdue University in their School of Construction Management. Brad focuses on construction supervision, project management, strategic planning, preconstruction, and sustaining the built environment. At Purdue, Benhart also leads the Healthcare Construction Management program and works with the first ASHE (American Society of Healthcare Engineering) student chapter. His position allows him to further develop construction education in the built environment and be an industry advocate for the next generation of builders. He is also very involved in field supervision training programs, both at Purdue and on the national level. He focuses on the sustainability of our industry by mentoring the retiring baby boomers with new foremen and superintendents. Benhart also has an extensive resume in industry. His previous position was Vice President with Pepper Construction Company of Chicago, IL. While at Pepper, Brad managed multiple projects ranging from $100k to $250 million dollars. He continues to be an adjunct professor at Northwestern University in project management and has actively taught and trained many employees in the industry. When he is not in the classroom, Brad owns Integrated Construction Resources, a construction consulting company that focuses on strategic planning, training, expert witness analysis, and owners’ representation. In his free time, he enjoys traveling with his family.

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Patti Morgan Purdue University

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Scott Douglas Santon Purdue University

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The demand for sustainable development and construction has become increasingly popular over the years. New data is constantly emerging about the sources and effects to the built environment and society from construction related activities and the most cost effective manner in which to address them. A compounding issue related to sustainability is the fact there is no definitive right or wrong answer. Critical thinking, information analysis, and interdisciplinary collaboration are all vital to developing the best solution for sustainable development. Education is the cornerstone of this process. Continuing education will always be necessary; however, an initial fundamental understanding of sustainable concepts is needed in order to construct more knowledge. The most opportune time for future industry leaders to establish these concepts is in parallel of other construction fundamentals in higher education. While many construction education programs have successful history with construction fundamentals, they have not yet fully integrated sustainable education. This paper addresses sustainable construction student objectives, strategies for implementing sustainable education, and challenges and successes other institutions have encountered. Research has shown that full implementation, rather than isolated sustainable courses, has the most impact for students. A well-developed plan accounting for faculty support, active learning, and development of “soft” skills is vital to successful implementation.

Metzinger, J. R., & Cabral, J. A., & Benhart, B. L., & Morgan, P., & Santon, S. D. (2017, June), Integrating Sustainability into Construction Education Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28560

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