for educational purposes. I took a career personality survey and it
said I should be an architect. But I feel Im not up for that level of
a profession. I would like to get involved with a firm of some kind
though that does green/alternative building. I really want to get out
of the line of work I ended up in after high school (office
administration) and move into a more collaborative aspect of the
building process. Any suggestions?
I have looked at college courses and they aren't very helpful because
they are so broad. And usually only offer degrees such as: Urban
Planning, Construction Management, Construction Technology,
Engineering, etc. And none of those usually offers much of any
education in green building options.
I am "dying" sitting at a desk the past 10 years straight and want
something more diverse (I don't mind desk work still, but not tied to
it the whole 8/10 hours a day!). I don't have time for a bachelors/
masters, as I am a single mother and need something I can transition
into within a year (my son will be almost out of the house by the time
I get a bachelors which doesnt suit the purpose of supporting him).
Is there much OJT out there?
I have also searched and searched for some sort of online degree
program in sustainable living/green building type realm and there isnt
much there either.
Any ideas or info you can give me would be great, thanks!
Here's something relatively off-the-cuff if somewhat extensive, for
reference. It is not intended to overwhelm you, although it might. :)
Just take what you can get from it:
What other careers were suggested? Who are you? What are your
hobbies/sports/pass-times? Who are your friends? What are they like?
What do you like most about them? What do you like to discuss with people?
Be your own boss? Work with someone on an equal level? Work "under" someone?
Who do you like, or would you like, to hang out/work with? Where would
you love to live or be every day? Different places? One place? Out/Inside?
What aspects of your previous/current jobs did you like/dislike and why?
Where would you like to work *sun*soul? How/When? Midnight? Noon?
Morning-bird? Nightowl? Why?
What skills (transferrable, etc.) and background/experience do you have
(that you want to use)?
What about a career that doesn't exist that you would consider ideal?
What would it be? Fantasize. "IQ" was just mentioned in another thread,
as was the question of the accuracy of its tests. How accurate do you
think your career personality test was? How well do you know yourself;
how well does a test? What other tests have you taken? What do people
tell you about you?
In what capacity?
What are your motivations for doing so? Are they the right ones? Or are
we jumping a sinking ship for a rusted hulk that just happens to be
Have you asked some companies or organizations in the green fields the
same questions? Sometimes there are hidden markets and jobs you've never
heard of before. How about not-for-profit? Habitat for Humanity?
International development? They may have internal programmes or be able
to suggest other avenues.
How about something that would allow you some flexibility, maybe even
something where you could incorporate your child. Maybe feed 2 birds
with one seed as it were? What does he like? What does he know about
you? Kids can often be keen observers and truthful commentators.
You only live once!
Are you sure? It is possible to get student loans and even support for
children. There're *many* programmes out there! Consider a financial
advisor, such as at your local college or university for a start. They
should be able to also show you some info on grants, loans, bursaries
Can he work and/or invest some time and/or money with you?
Plenty, but it helps to do your homework.
In Canada, there is (or used to be) an architectural syllabus programme
where you could apprentice with an architect as a paid drafter, while
gaining an architecture degree part-time. There're also "open
universities" where you can get a degree part-time by correspondence.
For other ideas, consider professional associations, groups,
affiliations, etc., both online and off. Network.
All the best!
Syllabus was teaming up with Athabaska U., IIRC, but that would basically
make it a "distance learning" focused 11th school of architecture in the
country instead of the last vestige of the old apprenticeship approach. I
personally don't think we need another school.
We've got ten, and that's too many.
Regarding careers in green building
The field started in the late 60s with 'natural' building generally by
and for individuals, out-of-the-pick-up truck contractors and sole
practitioner architects, especially where zoning was loose and easy.
Passive solar made headway in the early 70s, with Stephen Strong of
Solar Design Associates, Harvard, an early pioneer.
Green building was initially driven by resource reduction strategies
and energy efficiency goals. Now, depending on which "expert" you
acknowledge, it is a $38-$60 billion a year enterprise, with 10% of
new construction being "green" by some standard, be it USGBC LEED,
NAHB, BuildItGreen or GreenGlobes, in the US.
Among the most significant websites and sources are: usgbc.org,
rmi.org, ibe.colostate.edu, athenasmi.ca/about/. The US EPA and DOE
have enormous sections of their websites devoted to green building.
Why is green the new red white and blue? Check out Tom Friedman's
great New York Times article in April 2007.
Most architectural firms have either specialists in the area or groups
of teams which specialize in the coordinated (charrette) approach of
getting all participants on the same page with the same mission: to
build high performance, low or zero net energy, water efficient, south
facing, healthy buildings with smart material choices, best on reduce
reuse and recycle at minimum and restore, revitalize and refresh at
Obtaining accreditation by the US Green Building Council, National
Remodelers Institute, or Build It Green (Berkeley) are excellent
programs of profound learning.
Don't look towards architectural schools because their curriculum is
wildly out of date and out of step, unfortunately.
There are dozens of books on the subject (check out www.buildersbooksource.com)
and newsletters on the subject.
Quick overview for the big environmental reasons:
For examples of winning buildings, look to aia-cote (Am Inst of Arch,
Comte on the Environment) and the US Green Building Council.
- Managing Editor, Green Building News (about to change its name)
- Principal, Communication Management, Corte Madera, CA
- Instructor, UC Berkeley Extension, Marketing & Project Management
for Design Professionals
Checked out that piece, and was pretty disappointed. Sure there are a couple
of ideas in there, but when did Friedman become so glib with those forced
"folksy" expressions? (Haven't followed him for about a decade.)
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