Wood structure

What is Sustainable Residential Structures?

If you want to learn and apply the principles of engineering and building design tools to help produce economical, low impact and durable residential building systems, then Sustainable Residential Structures is the study option for you!  In this option, you will learn and gain residential building experience that will make you a highly preferred leader in the industry.

The Sustainable Residential Structures track builds upon core SBIO courses to give you the skills toward creating sustainable structures by learning about the latest building design methods, construction practices, and green building methods.  Even more important, you will gain hands-on lab and project-based experience to help you become a leader in your profession.

Where is Sustainable Residential Structures Used?

Green buildings, or sustainable structures, are environmentally responsible buildings, taking into consideration materials, energy, water, air, and social practices. Green building practices have become the industry standard in residential construction. The green construction market in U.S. single family residential housing is forecast to expand from $37 billion in 2013 to $80-$101 billion by 2016. The Sustainable Residential Structures track prepares students to meet these needs and work in the green construction and manufacturing industries.

Student and professor in Lab

Hands-on Experience

Our courses in the Sustainable Residential Structures option teach the latest techniques about how to design, manufacture and build residential structures considering the whole system design concepts that consider the full “life-cycle” impacts when building, using, and maintaining a residential structure. You also gain hands-on lab experience conducting some of the latest research in the residential construction industry.  In one recent project, students tested different safety systems to eliminate fall injuries during construction.  By being involved in the latest research projects, students gain experience in the latest building construction practices, by communicating their work through presentations and technical publications, and by making the industry more sustainable by improving safety!

Our faculty maintain close connections with a variety of companies who are eager to hire our students as interns.  This internship experience allows students to make professional connections, build their resume and earn money while they are working on their degree.

After Graduation

The Sustainable Residential Structures track option prepares you to understand sustainability aspects to improve upon the design, engineering, and construction of all types of residential structures.

Derek Richey

Derek Richey

Production Manager
Universal Forest Products

It was clear to me early on that my degree had prepared me well for my job as a production manager for pressure treating, shipping,
and receiving. I am constantly looking at ways to improve operations and use thought processes (e.g., continuous improvement, lean manufacturing) taught at Virginia Tech to accomplish these goals. Understanding the properties and physical structure of biomaterials has been a critical tool for improving processes at the plant. In my position, I am exposed to sales, purchasing, and product development on a regular basis. The knowledge I gained from the sustainable biomaterials department has been vital.



Sustainable Residential Structures


Introductory Courses

Find out what courses to take this fall if you are interested in Forest Products Business.


For more information

Contact a Student Ambassador or Faculty Member.