6 Jobs in Sustainable Architecture

Sustainable architecture jobs, (aka Green architecture) are in the forefront of an ongoing paradigm shift in architecture. The concept of sustainability has directly impacted modern architecture since the 1970s. What was once a fringe area of architecture is now a major force in the profession.

Professional background and history

One of the reasons for the appeal and commercial rise of sustainable architecture to architects is that it often contains architectural and design principles that are both fascinating and technically challenging to put into practice. It also often contains elements of ancient architecture which are major design concepts in modern architecture.

The "dome" concept, an ancient design for homes, which was one of the early eco-friendly sustainable designs, evolved into a very important new approach to internal space. Other innovations also followed rapidly, and a thriving global industry has resulted in a new branch of professional architecture.

Jobs in sustainable architecture

There are several streams in sustainable architecture which are driving employment patterns:

1. Design: Sustainable architecture has developed considerably in the design field. A combination of design factors is also generating a lot of new design concepts, including architectural system designs for:

  • Recycling
  • Waste management
  • Thermal energy systems
  • Terraforming and ecological insulation management
  • Architectural landscaping

These systems are incorporated in various combinations into sustainable architecture. In some cases all these methods form part of a holistic design.

2. Architectural renovations: A very common part of the new architecture is conversion of older buildings to green technology. This can involve removal of old systems and replacement with modern eco-friendly designs. This can be a difficult form of architecture, in some cases requiring complete redesign of internal and external structures and fittings, and extensive replacement of materials.

3. Energy efficiency and sustainable architecture: Some architects specialize in energy efficiency, which is built in to designs at all levels. This type of sustainable architecture is often a sort of midpoint between the design and architectural renovations, involving aspects of both in the process of creating local energy efficient systems.

4. Water management systems design: Water recycling and water conservation management are another area where sustainable architecture is attracting a lot of interest globally from drought affected communities and many governments. Architects design both residential and community water management systems. Some of these projects are a combination of architecture, landscape architecture and architectural engineering, involving use of local water resources and considerable planning.

5. Environmental architectural consultancies: Major urban studies around the world are being conducted into reducing environmental impacts created by new housing and redevelopment. This involves incorporating green technology and architectural techniques into all elements of these projects. These consultancies are big business.

6. Construction planning in sustainable architecture: The construction industry is also adopting green construction materials and concepts, which are therefore incorporated into architectural designs. This is one of the largest areas of employment in sustainable architecture with a large increase in demand for architects who are familiar with green technology, materials and design concepts.

Salary range in sustainable architecture: $45,000 to $80,000.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting strong growth in the area of sustainable architecture in the coming decade.