Green Building Careers: What You Need to Know About the Future of Architecture
The Environmental Protection Agency defines green building as the “creation of structures using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient.” This extends beyond initial construction and affects all stages from siting to renovation. As new architects prepare for their careers, the evolution of sustainable building should be a primary focus.
Over the past two decades, architects have ventured into the world of sustainable building though small steps such as including solar panels to reduce dependence on electricity, but otherwise the structures are still built with standard materials. However, this piecemeal method of creating green buildings is now coming to an end.
Encouraged by government certifications and the rise of public awareness, sustainable architecture is evolving. The future of building will include units that are entirely self-sustaining. The use of reusable construction materials will continue to increase, and eventually structures will be demolished without having a negative impact on the environment.
Architects create green buildings to meet the needs of growing populations while reducing the negative impact on the environment.
These goals are achieved through the following practices:
• Efficient use of all natural resources
• Ensuring the building occupants’ health is protected
• Waste reduction on site
Green architecture plays an important role in the overall growth of sustainability. One shocking statistic from the Economist states that buildings are responsible for 65% of America’s electricity consumption, 36% of energy use and 30% of total greenhouse-gas emissions. Creating more sustainable and efficient buildings can have a large impact on reducing our carbon footprint for the future.
The U.S. government has encouraged green building through programs like Leadership in Energy and Efficient Design (LEED). Administered by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED is a certification program that awards buildings a level based on their ability to self-sustain. The levels include Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. The certification is also based on the intended use of a building, and with different ratings for categories such as health care and residential homes.
As LEED certifications become the standard for new architecture, industry professionals will be required to comply. Architects with an education in sustainability are at a distinct advantage when handling this portion of a building’s creation.
Benefits to the Bottom Line
Building with sustainable materials and methods is more costly than the alternative. However, these upfront costs are easily recovered within a matter of years. In fact, businesses see such a positive effect on their profits with sustainable architecture that the initial cost is merely seen as an investment.
Public awareness is another factor in growth of the green building industry. As prospective building owners become more aware of green methods, they demand their use. The entire market for new construction is moving toward meeting the demands of a green-savvy customer with the help of government programs and skilled green architects.
As the demand for sustainable building increases, graduates with an MBA in Sustainable Business are in a unique position to advance their careers. Though green buildings are still the exception, they are projected to grow in popularity. Studying sustainable business as part of an MBA program puts graduates on track to lead the future of architecture.
EPA – Green Building Web Archive. Retrieved from https://archive.epa.gov/greenbuilding/web/html/.
“The Rise of the Green Building.” The Economist. (2004 Dec. 2) Retrieved from
“Green Architecture: What Makes a Structure a ‘Living Building’?” Scientific American. (2009 Dec. 15) Retrieved from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/earth-talks-living-building/