BBE Certificate in Ecological Building and Design

This online study programme covers the fundamental concepts of Ecological Building and Design.  

It is suitable as a complement to existing careers in building and design, or for those who wish to build or renovate.

The course is designed to challenge and change the way we live and work in the world and nurture a respect for living in harmony with the natural environment.  It is a New Zealand based course but it is open to students from anywhere in the world - you can apply the knowledge you learn to the regions you know best.  

2019 Intake Dates

  • Intake 1: Starts 4 February

  • Intake 2: Starts 8 April

  • Intake 3: Starts 10 June

  • Intake 4: Starts 12 August

  • Intake 5: Starts 14 October

We encourage enrolling on the specific Intake dates as it helps develop better fellow student rapport, and the chance to network with interesting people. 

However, if you have missed the Intake start and wish to enrol before the next one, we are happy to oblige! You can either aim to catch up or you can set your own schedule for assessment hand-in. Alternatively, you can contact us with an expression of interest for the next Intake and we can send you a reminder when it is time to enroll.


The BBE is a not-for-profit organisation. The fees for this course enable us to undertake research and provide more in the way of free information about sustainable, healthy and harmonious building.

  • NZD $370 for Module 1, which must be completed first.

  • NZD $320 for all subsequent modules.

  • Otherwise, enroll in all five modules at the discounted price of NZD $1,500.


Course Content

The certificate consists of five Modules, approximately 80 hours each, for a total of 400 study hours.

  • Module 1: Principles of Ecological Building and Design - Learn about the fundamental principles and how to assess existing buildings for health and sustainability.

  • Module 2: Building and Site Design - Learn about Bio Harmonic design, permaculture and eco community options and apply them to a small design project.

  • Module 3: Materials and Construction - Learn to assess building materials and explore alternative options such as naturally durable timbers, earth and straw bale building.

  • Module 4: Energy and Renewable Energy - Learn about passive solar design, energy efficiency and renewable energy sources and design your own energy system.

  • Module 5: Water and Wastewater - Learn about rainwater harvesting, water conservation, compost toilets and waste water systems and design your own water system.

This is a tutored course, where to earn a Certificate you must complete the entire programme, starting with Module 1. After that you can choose the order of your Modules.

You submit your questions and assignments for assessment to ensure your learning is of an acceptable standard. On completion of the Course you are awarded a Certificate from the Building Biology and Ecology Institute.

Students who complete the Certificate are able to cross credit with the IBE 101 - Natural, Healthy Buildings course in the US and continue with their training.  They will also be able to do advanced courses with the NZ BBE as they are developed.

Designed as a part time course, each of the five Modules can be completed in 8 weeks, amounting to about 10 hours per week of study and assignment preparation. There will be five Intakes per year, allowing you to complete the Certificate within a calendar year.


"I would highly recommend the BBE Online Course to anyone looking for a sustainable building course to complement their current qualification/job or special interest...I work at an Eco Centre so was keen to learn more and complete a qualification that provided me with extra knowledge I could pass on to the general public through workshops and tours. I thoroughly enjoyed studying through the BBE and found the Certificate Course easy to follow, comprehensive and interesting."


I am an Ecological Interior Stylist and the Course really helped me define my business. I learnt a huge amount and it helped that each project could be based on real situations. I came out of the Course with a fixed plan for my own home and garden, as well as guiding principles for my business."


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