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It's crucial that students address issues of sustainability and reduced carbon emissions in all of their design projects. You are the next architects, and you can help decide how our buildings effect the environment.
Some amazing designers have broken done the barriers of ignorance that prevailed against the concepts of sustainable design. In so many areas, the concept of ecology and architecture were considered mutually exclusive. Surprisingly, one of the areas that I would have thought would have backed the experimentation of design mavericks was New Mexico, and yet it took decades for Michael Reynolds to be allowed to work on his Spaceship Earth project approved by the state as an experimental community. It took pressure from the media, showing him using his techniques in Indonesia after the tsunami for the lawmakers to sit up and take notice in a positive way.
By adding the issue of lowering carbon emissions and adding sustainable features to your projects, you will begin to change the attitudes and prevailing practices of future architectural firms. As students, you are always changing the future.
An excellent example of sustainable green design in public spaces, is the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. This building complex has a green roof, state of the art ventilation and solar systems, and a high percentage of recycled materials incorporated in its structure. Learn more in our article: Living Roof Takes the California Academy of Sciences Green.
The U.S. Green Building Council controls a special certification called LEED, which certifies a project as using "a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions." You can download checklists and additional resources to help determine the requirements for the highest levels of green certification for both commercial and residential building projects.
If you are planning to enter a college to study architecture, urban planning, interior design planning, or any of the related majors, download the guide to Green Colleges from the USGBC website.
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