Becoming a Green Architect

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Green Architect in Malaysia is also known as an architect that focuses on sustainable architecture. Sustainable architecture is basically architecture which aims to minimise the negative environmental impacts of buildings both on the local community and on the broader environment at large. This idea is also called active eco-system design and is also called active landscape design. It utilises the design, construction and placement of the building on the surrounding land, climate and land availability and uses the resources efficiently.

So what exactly is sustainable architecture? This concept is truly very different from green building, green living or green design. Sustainable architecture focuses on design principles such as those utilised in the efficient design of traditional buildings, and the principles that are used in green building. In Malaysia, green architects operate mainly with the concept of active site specific design which means that they are designing a building or a website that has its own specific design that meets the sustainable requirements of the local area.

The concept of this concept is relatively new but has been developed and used in countries like France and Italy. It was first introduced in Malaysia in the early 1990s when the government supported the development of green developments. For a project to be considered as such, four criteria must be met. These are energy reduction, efficient layout, recycling or re-use of all waste and consideration of aesthetics. In other words, the idea covers the whole gamut of design methods, such as resource efficient design, reduced waste, increased biodiversity, enhanced site-specific design, decreased energy use and reduced waste.

Because these concepts became more prevalent throughout society, so did the demand for qualified architects who could uphold these principles. This led to the establishment of professional associations and organizations that brought together practicing green architects and other interested professionals. Their primary goals were to promote education about green design in architects practice, train fresh new talent and supply technical support. They also developed criteria and guidelines for green projects, especially for projects associated with large businesses. Green design training even went to the extent of assisting practitioners to enter the profession as consultants.

Today, there are lots of schools and colleges that offer green design programs. The program is designed around the concept itself, thus the term’green architecture’. However, green programs aren’t limited to this specific field alone. Any project considered green by any school or college must meet the entire requirements of a sustainable community.

To be considered a green architect, a person must go beyond the design phase. He/she must have strong environmental pursuits and must be able to demonstrate how his/her implementation of the green design will affect the national or local economy in a positive manner. The educational and training systems have to have the ability to cater to these needs and make a well-educated professional ready to take on the challenge of designing a sustainable community. Green design isn’t restricted to building, but encompasses a wide range of practices, such as energy conservation, water conservation, transportation, manufacturing and design, sustainable communities, etc..

So as to be a green design professional, an individual must attend a green design academy. This training would cover topics such as sustainable building, green buildings, energy efficiency, community design, environmental consulting, natural architecture, site feasibility and much more. The program should include a balanced mix of theoretical study and practical application. During the program, students will learn about the benefits of green design, such as reduced energy consumption, increased ecological awareness, and decrease in waste. Students will also get a chance to work with projects which are currently in use or under development.

Graduates of a green design academy will have the required expertise and skills to design a sustainable community. By working as an architect, he/she can contribute towards making a greener community and may also apply their knowledge to other regions, such as government agencies and schools. Whether it is a residential or commercial construction, green design makes sure the site won’t be destroyed by construction or other unavoidable factors.

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