In today's climate of ever-diminishing resources and rising utility costs, clients in the business, government, and private sectors are looking for 'green' designs for new buildings--or for retrofitting existing ones. If you're earning an associate, bachelor's, or master's degree in architecture and industrial design, make sure your program offers courses on green building. In today's market, you're going to have to think green to earn green.
The U.S. Green Building Council (GBC) reports that green building can significantly reduce corporate operating costs, increase property value, enhance worker productivity, conserve natural resources, improve air and water quality, reduce solid waste, and improve employee health. Online architecture and industrial design degree programs
are well aware of the 'go green' movement, and have begun to offer courses that cater to the trend. Some of these classes include:
Designing a Green Workplace
- Sustainable construction materials
- Energy efficiency
- Refrigerant compliance management
- Greywater systems
- Passive solar technologies
- Heat recovery and recycling
In January of 2006, The Boston Globe reported that 385 green office buildings were under construction across the nation, with roughly 3,000 more in development. The First Marblehead Corporation of Medford, MA, exemplifies this growth. The company recently reconfigured its call center to provide employees with more sunlight, fresh air, and a panoramic view of the nearby Boston skyline. First Marblehead believes these efforts will increase employee productivity and reduce absenteeism.
The real question for architecture and design students revolves around how to integrate green concepts with traditional theories. By studying adaptive reuse, for example, you can learn how to retain the character and best qualities of an existing home or commercial building, while encouraging green retrofitting and additions. In London, a team of award-winning architects put this technique to work, turning a power plant into a modern art wing for the renowned Tate Gallery museum. Greater Benefits of Modern Green Design
Most buildings in the U.S. are energy hogs and polluters. The GBC claims that buildings account for 65% of total electrical power use, contribute 30 percent of all greenhouse gasses, pump out 136 million tons of waste a year, and guzzle 12 percent of the nation's water.
If you want to hit the ground running, look for classes that include training in incorporating natural elements, employ a whole-systems approach, and promote sustainability.