As the Canadian construction industry continues to grow, so do the opportunities for students and grads!
Are you an innovator who believes that construction is more than just erecting infrastructure, homes, and skyscrapers? Are you looking for a career with growth opportunities where you can also contribute to sustainability? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to consider starting a career in “green building” construction.
Currently, construction sites – and the spaces they create – consume a significant amount of energy. In response, the Canadian construction industry is increasingly emphasizing sustainability and eco-consciousness in the building, design, construction, and maintenance of buildings and structures.
To emphasize the importance of “green building” practices, the not-for-profit Green Building Council developed Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), a rating system that encourages sustainability efforts and resource efficient tactics in building worldwide. Together, the Green Building Council and their affiliates aim to address the issues of greenhouse gas emissions and landfill waste in Canada.
These emerging green building initiatives create an interesting and exciting opportunity for eco-conscious students looking to enter the Construction industry. For instance, students and grads with an interest in green building and sustainability can become WELL or LEED certified, specializing in one of six designations. Earning these certifications demonstrates expertise and leadership to employers in a fascinating and rapidly evolving industry.
Read on for a brief breakdown about the green building movement in Canada and discover how becoming a “green” accredited industry professional can work for you.
What is ‘green building’?
Green Building goes by several names – the most common of which are “green construction” and “sustainable building” – but generally it refers to both sustainable design and implementing processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle. It involves almost all of the key industry activities, such as siting, design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition.
“Green building” professionals assess and manage the overall impact of man-made structures on people and the natural environment. For example, green building pays careful attention to consumption patterns of energy, water, materials and natural resources and strives to make improvements that will benefit both the environment and an individual’s welfare.
What is CaGBC?
The nonprofit Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) maintains an inspiring mission: transforming built environments to high-performing, sustainable communities throughout Canada. The Council achieves this by implementing green building advocacy programs and promoting the LEED rating system.
In addition to LEED, the CaGBC also supports green building initiatives WELL and Green Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB). CaGBC is considered to be the voice of the green building movement, working in cooperation with all levels of the Canadian government and private organizations.
The CaGBC strives to make every building greener. Through their advocacy and education programs, you can see very real improvements in sustainability practices. In fact, research found that as of 2015 LEED buildings in Canada have annually conserved 12.8 billion litres of water, recycled 1.5 million tonnes of waste, and reduced greenhouse emissions by 1,261,016 CO2e tonnes.
What is LEED?
LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, represents a global initiative to promote sustainability in building design, construction and operations. LEED is currently considered the most influential third party verification for green building internationally. LEED certified buildings conserve valuable resources such as water and energy and save money as well.
In the LEED system, each structure is ranked based on its incorporation of a variety of sustainability efforts. Currently LEED is recognized in over 150 countries worldwide, symbolizing an international standard of excellence in green building.
Why You Should Become an Accredited Professional
The growing and increasingly competitive construction industry requires individuals to differentiate themselves, often by obtaining specific professional designations. Credentials such as LEED Green Associate or Accredited Professional are available so that individuals can gain a deeper understanding of both the industry and the green building movement.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the designations!
LEED Green Associate – The Green Associate designation indicates a basic understanding of green building design, construction and operations.
LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP) – This certification denotes advanced knowledge and expertise in one of the following five green building specialities:
- LEED AP BD+C – Building Design and Construction
The LEED AP Building Design and Construction designation distinguishes professionals with advanced knowledge in the building and construction of green buildings.
- LEED AP O+M – Operations and Maintenance
Operations and Maintenance applies to professionals who address and improve sustainability efforts and environmental impact within existing structures.
- LEED AP ID + C – Interior Design + Construction
This designation is best suited for individuals who seek to improve sustainability within the design and construction of interior spaces (both commercial and tenant).
- LEED AP ND – Neighborhood Development
Individuals with a designation in Neighborhood Development are involved with the planning, design and development of community spaces and local neighborhoods.
- LEED AP HOMES
Professionals with accreditation in Homes prioritize the green building practices in constructing livable, residential spaces. These spaces demonstrate a smarter integration of features that emphasize competency in energy-efficiency and reduced waste.
There are many environmental, economic, and social benefits of green building. Incorporating more energy efficient practices, such as solar power, reduces the environmental impact, as well as operating and maintenance costs. Ultimately, green building makes sense not only for environmental and economic structures, but, when done correctly, can also improve the comfort and health of occupants and help raise the overall quality of life in Canada.