Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Civil Engineering

Major Professor

Dr. Z. John Ma

Committee Members

Dr. Z. John Ma, Dr. Richard M. Bennett, Tricia A. Stuth


Sustainability is quickly becoming a “buzz word” in today’s environmentally conscious world from political leaders to building professionals to design experts to consumers as they rethink their impact on current healthy, efficient indoor/outdoor environments as well as long term benefits to future generations.

This paper seeks to investigate ways to increase the structural engineer’s influence over the sustainability of the building industry by using integrated design teams. It explores current practices within the building industry, in particular the housing industry and the ways in which the integrated design team differs from most current practices. It strives to promote the positive impact an integrated design team with structural engineers on board from the onset has on the design process as far as time, cost, and environmental concerns are considered. This paper continues by establishing methods for measuring the success of an integrated design team,its effects on sustainability, and how the structural engineer was involved.

The focus of this paper is the New Norris House class project: its background and the integrated design team’s process as it differs from the traditional design concept. The results of the project including the LEED and HERS rating and material efficiency and the impact of the structural engineer’s inputs from the onset will be discussed. The paper ends with a discussion on the differences between the educational and professional community and how integrated design teams are an efficient and cost effective way to achieve high levels of sustainability.

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