Best environment to practise sustainability role


If one want to orient their career path towards sustainability-specific roles, what is the most suitable environment to practice this into?

I understand that sustainability experts can be employed within traditional architecture firms, AE firms, or sustainability consultancies.

How does the role differ within every one of these environments?

Feb 27, 21 9:02 am
Non Sequitur

I hear Mars has all sorts of opportunities. We’ve already fucked this place already. 

Feb 27, 21 11:17 am  · 

What about professional environments as per my original question?

Feb 27, 21 11:24 am  · 

Your broad question tells me you have no experience in either architecture or sustainability.  I recommend you finish school first and try to find a firm or firms that focus on sustainable work.  

Mar 2, 21 2:04 pm  · 

@Chad, that's true I am in graduate school. The aim of the post was to start a conversation and understand what options are out there.

Mar 2, 21 4:49 pm  · 

A sustainability consultancy will be inherently focused on all sustainability work, all the time.   Architecture and A/E firms will have varying levels of commitment to and definitions of sustainability.  There is cynical, performative greenwashing on one end, firms who turn down any project that isn't sufficiently aligned with state of the art performance goals on the other end, and all points in between.

Feb 27, 21 11:42 am  · 

What does 'greenwashing' stand for?

Feb 27, 21 11:56 am  · 

designing a project with no real consideration of sustainability and then presenting reports that make it look like a progressive sustainable design. or focusing on the small things (recycled content in the flooring) while ignoring the big issue (a new build suburban office park on former forest lands)

Feb 27, 21 8:10 pm  · 
3  · 
Non Sequitur

Greenwashing is putting trees on every surface of your projects, or putting solar panels on a mic-mansion roof just to heat up the dog’s waddling pool, or demand a novel prize because the lobby finishes came in packaging with high recycled content.

Feb 28, 21 7:26 am  · 

Single most effective party... 


Feb 28, 21 9:25 pm  · 
2  · 
Wood Guy

The question broad but I can share my experience. I design "sustainable" homes and renovations, and sometimes provide consulting to architects who don't have the required building science skills in-house. There seems to be a large demand for it; I don't advertise that service but regularly get inquiries about it. There is only one other person within a two hour radius of me (±800K people) providing a similar service. I've decided to stick mostly with full-service design but often encourage others to fill this gap in the market. Along similar lines, there is a huge need for design professionals familiar with mold-resistant construction techniques, multiple chemical sensitivity clients and EMF-sensitive clients.

At the other end of the spectrum are companies like Thornton Tomasetti who have robust in-house sustainability departments who provide consulting for the biggest projects in the world. And everything in between. 

Mar 1, 21 8:03 am  · 

Don't know for sure, but I see the National Park Service regularly advertise. I know more and more, they look at sustainable simply because of the sites which often lack utilities and the maintenance costs. They are also normally staffed by those who are sympathetic to environmental causes. In a similar vein, other State or Federal projects are at least giving lip service and aren't necessarily driven by the 'build cheap, sell high' mantra of commercial development. While they don't typically self-perform design, you'll be interacting/managing with those kinds of design teams which is good for networking and learning. 

A downside though is those positions are basically contract management / owner rep. So, it'll be tough to earn the hours for your architectural license (IDP) if licensure is a priority. 

Mar 1, 21 12:37 pm  · 

We deal sometimes with universities and local governments with in-house staff who create and oversee sustainable building programs. In those settings there is often a mix of work in both new construction and operations/maintenance initiatives. They might be another place to look as well.

Mar 1, 21 3:06 pm  · 

Go into work in the public sector... they just make shit up, council approves it and then I have to explain to them why the rules / bylaws they just implemented are fucked up, not practical and impossible to achieve in current reality ( as the building sector is slow to adjust and change to new parameters )

Mar 2, 21 1:17 pm  · 

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