Current Sustainability Offerings at Cooper Union




ARCH 134 Environmental Technologies

Environmental and life safety systems as they affect program and building form, including mechanical (heating, cooling, ventilating), water supply and disposal, electrical, lighting, acoustics, vertical transportation, communication, security and fire protection. Principles of sustainability. Passive and active systems.

ARCH 194 Environmental Technologies Elective

Advanced study in environmental issues to include such topics as cultural and environmental sustainability, resource allocation, new materials and methods, global networks, urban growth, etc., as they relate to architecture on many scales.

            EcoRedux: The Resurgence of Ecological Imagination

         The main product of this course will be the assemblage of an archive for ecological material experiments that architects and designers explored during the twentieth century. We will collaborate in small groups in order to bring together a major database of ecological design strategies and to seek tentative connections with the remarkable contemporary resurgence of ecological strategies in architectural imagination. The scope of the seminar has a dual function: first as a tool to explore the history of the sustainable design throughout the twentieth century, but also as a pedagogical tool for radical design initiatives in the contemporary city.

The starting point for this course will be the existing online archive Ecoredux currently maps visually and verbally the trajectory of habitation experiments that underground architectural groups conducted during the 1960s and 1970s. Such experiments include garbage housing, recycling housing components, snow molding, vacuumatics, foam houses, pneumatics from used parachutes, hand-crafted domes et-al. Along with the documentation of historical material, the website also features contemporary interpretations of the experiments using various media, like diagrams, drawings, animations, interviews with the architects, computer codes and instruction manuals for sustainable living.

The course will aim in transforming the existing online archive into an open source groundbreaking collection of ecological experiments, tracing environmental policies and sustainable design building systems in line with the history of ideas and experiments in the twentieth century.


CE 141 Environmental Systems Engineering

Qualitative and quantitative treatment of water and wastewater systems asrelated to domestic and industrial needs and their effect on the environment. Introduction to air pollution sources and control andsolid/hazardous waste engineering. Design of water and wastewater treatment plants. Field and laboratory techniques for measurement of water quality parameters. Laboratory analysis of representative waters and wastewaters for commonly determined parameters as related to applications in water environment.

CE 142 (Same as EID 142) Water Resources Engineering

Problems in conservation and utilization of water. Hydrologic techniques. Surface water and groundwater supplies. Water transmission and distribution. Flood control, navigation and irrigation. Introduction to open channel flow and pipe networks. Design of hydraulic structures. Experimental aspects of hydraulic phenomena. Emphasis placed on basic experimental techniques, design of experiments, selection and use of appropriate instrumentation and interpretation of results.

CE 390 (Same as EID 390) Introduction to Sustainable Design

EID 357 Sustainable Engineering and Development

Sustainable engineering is examined, starting with an analysis of resources,(materials, energy, water) upon which manufacturing is based. Each resource is critically examined in terms of its availability and form and the ultimate impact of its usage on the state of the planet. A comparison of the design and construction of contemporary and primitive structure is used to illustrate the differences between the required infrastructure and environmental footprint, leading to a definition of 'green' design. The technologies required to support contemporary lifestyles in the developed and the developing world are discussed within the context of manufacturing techniques, usage of natural resources and the generation of waste. Workshops, guest lectures and a term project incorporating the concepts of minimalism, materials usage, and aesthetic design are used to present students with a unique perspective engineering.

EID 437 (Same as CE 437) Sustainability and Environmental Impact Assessment

Forty years ago, when the world did not know the word sustainability, smart engineers were conducting environmental impact assessments of alternative designs and projects in order to select the post option for implementation. This course evaluates the methodologies and problems encountered and approaches to using environmental impacts (which include socio-economic impacts and beneficial impacts) in order to achieve smarter, more sustainable designs and development. Case studies will be presented and students will have to write a term paper.

CE 414 Solid Waste Management

Engineering aspects of solid waste collection, transport and disposal, including sanitary landfill design, incineration, composting, recovery and re-utilization of resources. Optimization techniques of facility-siting and collection route selection and economic evaluation of factors affecting selection of disposal methods.

CE 448 (Same as EID 448)

Topics include types of environmental pollution and their effects; water quality standards and introduction to laboratory analyses of water quality parameters; sources and estimates of water and wastewater flows; physicochemical unit treatment processes. Integrated lecture and design periods cover water supply network, wastewater collection system and water treatment design projects.

ChE 447 Sustainability and Pollution Prevention

The first part of this course discusses in detail a methodology for defining and assessing the sustainability of an entity. The course then proceeds with more traditional topics in pollution prevention for chemical processes, outlining concepts on the macroscale (life-cycle assessment) and mesoscale (pollution prevention for unit operations). By the end of this course, you should be able to use a fuzzy-logic based methodology to define and assess sustainability, perform a sensitivity analysis which identifies the most critical components of sustainability for a given corporation, perform a life-cycle assessment on a product or process, identify and apply chemical process design methods for waste minimization, energy efficiency, and minimal environmental impact and design, size, and cost a simple waste treatment process.


H129 Environmental Literature

In this class, we will look at ways of imagining and approaching the natural environment through writing, ranging from travelogue to activism. Readings will include essays, poetry and fiction by Wordsworth, Thoreau, Carson, Abbey and others. Topics for reading and writing will center on such issues as encounters with nature, sustainability, species extinction and global warming.

H420 Environmentalism in the Urban Context

Conventional approaches to the city place the study of urban form and urban space squarely within the political, economic and cultural fields.   Nature is largely absent.  Indeed most disciplines tend to see the city as a stage on which only economic and cultural activities take place. Recently, however, the work of environmental scholars, usually serving as activists as well, has produced a new urbanism in which the city form and function is intimately connected with natural processes. This rethinking of the city opens up several new possibilities for teaching human-environment interactions. In particular, it provides an opportunity to use the immediate and everyday environment of the city as a site for identifying and analyzing the hidden geographies of raw materials, energy and waste flows that make possible the experience of urban life.  This course addresses three central issues: (1) identification of the material and ecological processes that make city form and function possible; (2) interpretation of the city as a constellation of economic institutions and social practices that transform nature over different temporal and spatial scales; and (3) the examination of the environmental and health impacts stemming from a city's role in production and consumption.

Continuing Education

The Continuing Education Department of the Cooper Union offers professional development courses for engineers, architects, developers, designers, and members of allied professions. These courses, taught by leading practitioners in their fields, sharpen professional skills or add new ones. Most of the courses also meet state license-renewal requirements. Students may take individual courses or, by accumulating 110 hours of coursework within two years, qualify for a Certificate in Green Building Design from Cooper Union’s Department of Continuing Education. The Green Building Design Certificate Program began in the fall of 2007 with 30 participants, there are now over 100. One of our most popular courses is the LEED Prep course for those planning to take the LEED New Construction exam.

Further information is available by contacting the Director of Continuing Education, David Greenstein via email or at 212-353-4198.



Laboratory for Energy Reclamation and Innovation

Established in 2006 at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, Albert Nerken School of Engineering, LERI is a research and teaching venue for addressing current energy problems. The Laboratory aims to address inefficiencies in energy uses through design and innovation, particularly by utilizing discarded waste energy found in almost every system.. LERI specializes in micro-green energy solutions and new uses for existing energy resources.

Website here


Center for Sustainable Engineering, Architecture and Art – Materials, Manufacturing and Minimalism

The Center for Sustainable Engineering, Architecture and Art – Materials, Manufacturing and Minimalism, seeks to develop an awareness of solutions to engineering problems that preserve the integrity of the commons; it is a space where true cross-disciplinary conversation and reciprocal learning generate real solutions that can be imagined, created and implemented. Using their ability to communicate and infused with an understanding of the world, its peoples and cultures, students create and disseminate designs suited to, and in harmony with their place of use. SEA2M3 provides a forum within which students from the schools of Engineering, Art and Architecture come together to develop new design criteria that yield materials, manufacturing techniques, habitats and lifestyles that are sustainable, and that, ultimately, reduce the chasm between the rich and the poor.

Website here


  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.