Sustainable Construction

Sustainable Construction 

Tradition and innovation at the heart of Maine building practices.

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Image Courtesy of Maine Mountain Timber FramesThe two-year Sustainable Construction program takes students from start to finish in the design/build process and combines conventional stick framing and the millennia-old craft of timber frame joinery with the latest in building systems technology. Valued skills in communication, applied math, and critical thinking are developed in tandem with practical introductions to trades like welding, plumbing, weatherization, and more. Students will take specialized courses during the second year in both finish carpentry and architectural restoration.

The coursework provides students with the technical knowledge and hands-on skills needed to pursue employment across many areas of the construction industry including carpentry, project management, design, building inspection, and renewable energy installation. The two-year program is designed to fast track graduates to leadership positions from construction supervisor to business owner.

Community Workshops
In conjunction with KVCC's Institute of Workforce Training and Professional Development, the Sustainable Construction program offers community workshops for professional development and personal enrichment. Click here to see the 2017-2018 schedule.


More Sustainable Construction Information...


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To prepare students to be lifelong learners and help them achieve various professional and personal goals that may arise over a lifetime. Upon graduation, students will be poised to enter the workforce as entry-level craftsmen, builders, and technicians or transfer to other college and university programs. Our graduates will develop as skilled professionals who value both tradition and innovation at the heart of sustainable building practices today, and who actively participate in reinvigorating Maine's construction industry.

Upon successful completion of the Sustainable Construction program, a graduate is expected to:

  • Practice the skills of the profession in a conscientious, responsible, and accountable manner while recognizing the need to continue to expand their technical knowledge and skills.
  • Communicate effectively while listening and responding appropriately to a variety of building construction situations.
  • Think critically and use their acquired skills to solve problems encountered in a building construction environment.



Year One

Semester I (Fall)




Total Hours

MAT 114

Technical Math



SDB 101*

Tool Use, Maintenance, and Safety with OSHA 10 (MAT 114, SDB 102 or SDB 103)


SDB 106*

CAD Drafting and Blueprint Reading (MAT 114, SDB 102 or SDB 103)


SDB 102*

Timber Frame Craftsmanship I (MAT 114, SDB 101)


SDB 103*

Stick Framing and Building Concepts I (MAT 114, SDB 101)


Semester II (Spring)

ENG 108

Technical Writing



SDB 105*

3D Modeling for Construction (SDB 102, SDB 103, SDB 106)


HIS 104

Architectural Style and Construction in New England


SDB 104*

Timber Frame Craftsmanship II (SDB 102)


SDB 107*

Stick Framing and Building Concepts II (SDB 103)


Year Two

Semester III (Fall)

SDB 203*

Building Materials and Engineering (SDB 102, SDB 103)



SDB 207 *

Finish Carpentry (SDB 107)


SDB 208*

Restoration Carpentry (SDB 104)


COM 105

Interpersonal Communication



Social Science Elective


WSC 110

Wood Science 


Semester IV (Spring)

SDB 210*

Residential and International Green Code



SDB 204*

Building Systems I (SDB 102, SDB 103)


SDB 205*

Building Systems II (SDB 204)


SDB 209*

Construction Supervisor and Business Basics




(XXX YYY) indicates a pre or co-requisite

Criteria for Graduation
Students must complete 60 credits in the Sustainable Construction program and achieve a minimum grade of “C” in all core courses (*). Students must achieve a final GPA of 2.0 or higher.

Kennebec Valley Community College is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution and employer.

Made up of area employers, industry leaders, and community members, the Sustainable Construction Program Advisory Committee’s primary purpose is to help the College ensure that the program is relevant to the community, addresses current industry standards, meets workforce needs, and has appropriate resources to support high quality student outcomes. To accomplish this purpose, the advisory committee focuses on the specific functions of program development, curriculum review, program evaluation, instructor guidance, student recruitment, retention, and placement.


Below you will find:

  • A list of current advisory committee members
  • Agendas from current and past meetings
  • Minutes from past meetings
  • Advisory Committee By-Laws


Sustainable Construction Program

 Advisory Committee


Bjarki Gunnarsson, Owner
The Wood Mill of Maine
1386 Mercer Road
Mercer, ME 04957
Dean Dolham, President
Waterville Area Habitat for Humanity
P.O. Box 1972
Waterville, ME 04903
Kim Lindlof, President and CEO
Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce
50 Elm Street
Waterville, ME 04901
Andrew Soule, Instructor
Somerset Career and Technical Center
61 Academy Circle
Skowhegan, ME
207.474.2151 ext. 4510
Ashley Richards, Executive Officer
Homebuilders and Remodelers Association
P.O. Box 352
Brunswick, ME 04011
Matt Miller, Project Manager, Structural Engineer
M2 Structural Engineering
23 Thornbury Way
Windham, ME
Hans Albee, Engineer and Solar Designer
Revision Energy
91 West Main Street
Liberty, ME 04949
Nicole Rogers, Architect
SMRT Architects
144 Fore Street
Portland, ME
Ken Coville, President
Good Will-Hinckley
16 Prescott Drive
Hinckley, ME 04944
Office: 207-238-4001
Mark Champagne, Instructor
Mid-Maine Technical Center
3 Brooklyn Avenue
Waterville, ME 04901
Christi Mitchell, Associate Director
Maine Historic Preservation Commission
55 Capitol Street
Augusta, ME 04333
Katherine Carlson, Owner
Maine Mountain Timber Frames
1106 Rangeley Road
Avon, ME
Ellen Gibson, Director
Vaughan Woods and Historic Homestead
2 Litchfield Road
Hallowell, ME 04347
Tom Twist, Sustainability Manager
Bates College
147 Russell Street 
Lewiston, ME 04240
Amy Hinkley, Lecturer in Architecture
Interim Program Co-Coordinator
University of Maine at Augusta
Handley Hall, 331 Water Street
Augusta, Maine 04330
Beth Fisher
Chair, Maine STEM Council
Maine Administrators of Career & Technical Education
Director, Mid-Coast School of Technology
1 Main St. Rockland, ME 04841
Dan Kolbert, Owner
Kolbert Building
90 Gray Street
Portland, ME 04102



Past and Current Agendas

Past Meeting Minutes 

Spring 2017

May 2017


November 2016


November 2016



Advisory Committee By-Laws



Solar panel image courtesy of Revision Energy

A cornerstone of this curriculum is our emphasis on sustainability and the need to raise design/build standards throughout Maine and New England. Definitions of “sustainability” or “green,” however, are often broad and varied as they relate to building design and construction.

Our faculty do not prescribe any singular definition of “sustainability” or “green building,” nor do we push the highest possible standards of building performance. Our program simply reinforces the importance of considering a structure's lifespan through smart design, structural integrity, and historic preservation or re-use.

Multiple standards and models exist in the building world in order to ensure occupant health and safety as well as the affordability and environmental impact of the structure itself. The most basic system is the building code, not universally enforced and with only two grades – it either passes or it doesn’t. Other rating systems and certifications are voluntary, and while they remind us of important design/build considerations, they are often too rigorous, complicated, and expensive for the general public to adopt.

Our students are challenged to think about how buildings in New England can be constructed at a higher but achievable level of quality and energy efficiency.

The value of sourcing materials locally, designing a tight, energy efficient building envelope, and generating renewable energy are all practically examined throughout the program. All of this is put into the context of the American building and carpentry tradition through the Architectural Style and Construction in New England course. 

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What Sustainable Construction professionals do:
Conventional construction, timber framing, or green building
Finish carpentry and historic restoration carpentry
Design and drafting in architecture or engineering firms
Installation of renewable energy and weatherization

Students will learn about:
Power/hand tool use and shop safety
Building trades, systems, and the thermal envelope
Architectural history and restoration
Small business planning and project management
Builder’s engineering, material technology, and green code
Blueprint reading, drafting, and 3D modeling

Sustainable Construction graduates work in/on:
Contracting firms on a project management or design path
Small timber frame or conventional construction businesses
Housing non-profits and building inspection agencies
Renewable energy and weatherization services

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Certifications and Training in the program may include:

  • OSHA 10
  • 1st Aid and CPR
  • Fire Safety Training
  • Credits towards NABCEP Entry Level Solar Photovoltaic Certificate
  • Rigger Level 1 and Signalperson
  • Residential Construction Superintendent
  • Restoration Carpentry
  • Approved Timber Framers Guild Apprenticeship Hours


Many of our skills standards are derived from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and our curriculum and assessments are based on the NAHB’s Residential Construction Academy (RCA) textbooks published by the Home Builders Institute (HBI), the educational arm of the NAHB.

Sustainable Construction Required Tools

Timberframe Image

The tools listed below identify suggested brands, models, and price and are suggestions only. All first year students must be in possession of these tools by the end of the second week of classes. Students must be in possession of second year tools prior to the start of the third semester. Please contact your advisor well in advance of the semester if financial aid will be used. Emergency advances may be available to pay for required materials such as textbooks and tools.


Year 1:




  Long - Framing Chisel

Robert Sorby 285 / 2" Framing Chisel (long)


  Short - Bench Chisel

Irwin Tools 1819360 2" Impact  Bench Chisels


  Framing Mallet

Crown 4.5" Beechwood Framing Mallet - 20 oz.


  Carpenter's Square

Stanley 45-300 / 24" Aluminum Carpenter's Square


  Combination Square

Stanley 46-222 / 12" Combination Square


  Speed Square

Irwin 1794465 / 12" Aluminum Rafter Square


  Bevel Gauge

Johnson 1913-1000 / 10" Aluminum Bevel Gauge


  Tape Measure

Stanley 33-425D / 25' Power Lock Tape Measure


  Pull Hand Saw

Shark 33-2318 / 18" Pull Carpentry Saw 


  Safety Glasses

Crews SS110 / Stratos Safety Glasses


  Hearing Protection

3M 90561-4DC / Professional Ear Muff



Dixon Ticonderoga 13882 / 12 #2 Wood Pencils


  Pencil Erasers

Mate Pink Pearl Premium Erasers / 3 Large


  Pencil Sharpener

Staedtler 2 Hole Metal Pencil Sharpener


  Scientific Calculator

Texas Instruments TI-30X IIS Scientific Calculator



OIC 83506/83219 / Hardboard Clipboard


  Tool Belt

McGuire-Nichols  1DM-495-2 / Carpenters Apron


  Tool Bag

Husky GP-44448EN13 / Tool Bag


  Steel Toe Footwear

Selected by Student


Total Approximate Cost



Year 2:




  Cut Resistant Gloves

Cut Resistant 100% Kevlar Heavy Weight                     Textured Latex Coated Large Gloves


  Multi Meter     Kit

Klein Tools Electrical Test Kit


  Wire Strippers

Kurve Dual Non-Metallic Cable   Stripper/Cutter


  Screw Driver Set

Husky Screwdriver Set (10-Piece)


  Linesman Pliers

Husky 9 in. Linesman Pliers


  Utility Knife

HDX Retractable Utility Knife


  Safety Goggle

3M Tekk Protection Clear Chemical Splash and 


  Butyl Gloves

Zoro Chemical Resistant


  Torpedo Level

Empire True Blue 9 in. Professional Torpedo Level


  Construction Level

Empire True Blue 24 in. Magnetic I-Beam Level


  6 in 1 Screwdriver

URREA 6-In-1 1/4 in. Flat, Phillips, Hex Tips



Husky 16 oz. Fiberglass Claw Hammer


  Pump Pliers

Klein Tools 12 in. Pump Pliers


  Adjustable Wrenches 

Crescent 6 in. and 10 in. Adjustable Wrench Set


  Tubing Cutter

RIDGID 101 Tubing Cutter


  Nut Driver Set

SAE Nut Driver Set (7-Piece)


  Masonry Gloves

Galeton Economy Mason Gloves


  Welding Jacket

Green 100% 9 oz. Flame-Resistant Cotton t


  Leather Sleeves

Tillman Leather Sleeves - 23"  Split Cowhide 5200


Total Approximate Cost


Sign-up today or contact Elizabeth Fortin for more information…

Call 207.453.5858

“Build a Small Timber Frame House.” Small House Workshop Series: Part 1         January 8 - 12, 2018, $600

Learn to build a small house through the millennia old craft of timber framing. Students will focus on layout, cutting, joinery, and raising a timber frame. Students will learn the “square rule” method, gain confidence with hand tools, and learn some modern advantages of power tools. This is Part 1 of a Small House Workshops Series to see the structure from start to completion.

Small House Construction


Build Your Own Adirondack Chair                   March 13 – 16, 2018, $229

Master the band saw and simple fasteners to create your very own Adirondack chair. Useful measuring and marketing techniques will be covered in addition to finish methods and an introduction to wood structure and care. No Prior woodworking experience is necessary to create heirloom quality furniture, though, as in most things, it certainly doesn’t hurt!

Adirondack Chair


AutoCAD in the Workplace                  February 12 - March 29, 2018, $249

AutoCAD in the Workplace is a foundation course to teach the most commonly used features of AutoCAD for use in a business or industrial setting. Students will be introduced to two dimensional (2D) drafting commands, dimensioning, drawing setup, and plotting. Covered topics will include mechanical, architectural and electrical drawings, the limitations of 2D design, CAD naming conventions, and file management.



Timber Frame Pergola Workshop                    May 21 – 25, 2018, $575

Join us for an introduction to timber framing. Learn a basic knowledge of timber frame joinery, care and use of hand tools and sharpening methods while you learn to build and raise a timber frame pergola. Students will lay out joints on timbers, cut, and shape joints using saws, and learn rule of thumb techniques for joinery.



Set Construction Training for Beginners                      July 16-23, 2018, $1,450         

Learn the basics of set construction for film, television, theater, and commercial work in this hands on two-week workshop led by Master Carpenter and IATSE Local 481 union representative, Eric Matheson. With over 80 feature films under his belt including The Crucible, The Cider House Rules, Empire Falls, and R.I.P.D., Eric will guide students through a practical introduction to the basic duties of the set construction department. Along the way, students will explore industry terminology, best practices, the role of different departments on set, set protocol, budgets, and the realities of working in the entertainment industry. This experiential program is for those with basic carpentry skills who wish to learn specific methods and practices through the actual construction of a set completed by the end of week two.

Set Construction

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"This program is funded by a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration.  This is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action program, adaptive equipment will be provided upon request to individuals with disabilities."