What is a Sustainable Systems Developer?

Sustainable Systems DeveloperWith the birth of the “Green Age” of environmental awareness, the job of Sustainability Systems Developer has emerged. The profession is one that will likely see rapid expansion as resources dwindle and energy becomes more expensive. Sustainability is a concept we have barely begun to explore, but one that is surely needed. The world’s supply of fresh water is only 2.5 percent of the planet’s water supply. Most of that is ice and hard to access. If consumption stays where it is today, experts predict we will run out of fresh water in 46.3 years. Another resource, oil, is expected to last only 46.2 years at the present rate of consumption.

What Sustainability Is

The Brundtland Report defines sustainability as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” The term “needs” is interpreted to mean an emphasis on the requirements of the poor as the greatest consideration. Another concept associated with sustainability is “limitations.” That deals with the boundaries and demands that society and rising technology impose of the environment. If you consider the pollution and waste of the Industrial Revolution, it is easy to see how industry imposed “limitations” upon the air and water quality. A continuation of that policy would mean the environment would lose its capability to provide the needs of the future.

The World as a System

Volcanic activity in Europe eventually affects air quality in North America. Oil spills travel ocean currents to despoil coastlines on all sides. As “no man is an island,” no country or society exists solely to itself. There are consequences to our actions as consumers. The world is a system that is connected over space and through time. Not only do the consequences of our actions reach across continents. But they reach across years. That is why the principles of sustainability are important, and why developers of sustainable systems is important,

What a Sustainability Developer Does

This profession involves an environmental or “green” degree. According to Petersons, sustainability relates to many fields and someone with this degree can finds employment in virtually any industry or arena. A person with a degree in sustainability designs architecture, programs and policies that reduce the negative aspects of society on the environment. In architecture, this takes the form of constructing buildings that meet sustainability guidelines of reducing energy consumption and water use. That means using recycled materials and building homes in such a way that they use less energy. Sustainability in industry also involves decreased energy use, but also includes recycling water and lessening pollutants. Professionals in this field work as analysts helping industries like Armstrong develop methods of reusing waste water In manufacturing, as construction managers making certain housing developments and other projects meet guidelines for sustainability and as energy experts helping corporations reduce the amount of energy they expend in manufacturing.

Related Resource: Environmental Engineering

Since this is a relatively new profession not all universities have sustainability degrees. In fact, the degree may come as a concentration in another field such as engineering. The projected job growth is above average and the median salary range is $71,000 to $97,000. Sustainability System Developers work in virtually every area of society designing programs that will help ensure that today’s resources will last for tomorrow’s world.