What Careers in Architecture are Considered Green or Environmentally Friendly?

Green ArchitectureRecently there has been a demand to incorporate more sustainable elements into the architectural profession, and careers in architecture that are considered green or environmentally friendly are becoming popular. Many people move into spaces that have been built decades earlier, and they do the best that they can to make affordable modifications that leave their indoor and outdoor spaces more energy efficient and sustainable. Others can afford to start a design from scratch or undertake major renovations to transform their dwellings into environmentally friendly havens of tranquility. The latter group of casual conservationists often rely on the new breed of sustainable architects to bring their dreams to life. Here are some architecture careers that help residents, businesses and communities function in more environmentally friendly ways.

Preservation Architect

Historic homes are attractive to many people because of their distinctive period designs and their reputations for being solidly built. However, many historic structures require major renovations to make them livable again, and environmentally conscious homeowners take advantage of these projects to design sustainability into their new dwellings, according to Architectural Record. Preservation architects thoroughly understand the local building codes, how historic structures were designed and built, traditional design concepts as well as new techniques to blend green design elements with the character of old properties. Historic homeowners gain cost saving features of a new home, but they retain the look of dwellings from times past when they hire preservation architects who specialize in sustainable design.

Green Building Design Architect

Traditional architects are known for their attention to detail, and that skill is taken up a notch for green building design architects. Green building design architects usually create structural plans from scratch that allow proposed buildings to use energy more efficiently, conserve water resources or blend into their surroundings with minimal ecological impacts. Their job involves researching the positions of proposed structures as well as alternative building materials so that designed structures can take advantage of natural surrounding resources that are available. For instance, a green building design architect can propose a building design that uses solar collection panels on a building’s sections that are positioned to get the most sunlight. These architects can also consider the building’s function to create more sustainable environments. For example, a restaurant can be designed with a rooftop garden where the chef can pick the freshest produce daily for restaurant patrons’ meals.

Sustainable Urban Planner

Architects who seek job opportunities beyond the traditional architectural design firms often find employment opportunities with state and local government urban planning departments. Residents and business owners are not the only ones who recognize that planning sustainability into designs early results in cost savings and a higher quality of life in the long term. Green design architects are employed directly or as contractors with governmental planning departments to design communities with more green spaces, bike paths, electric car charging stations and public buildings that use alternative energy effectively. While most urban planners have a degree in the discipline, some are hired with architecture, geography and even sociology degrees.

Related Resource: Sustainable Systems Developer


The push for more environmentally friendly design and building projects led to the formation of the U.S. Green Building Council in 1993 and the subsequent creation of eco-friendly building standards for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design building certification program. It is expected that the rise in careers in architecture that are considered green or environmentally friendly will make eco-friendly designs the norm instead of the exception to the rule.