A green architect specializes in designing architecture that is sustainable, non-harmful to the environment, and is built on energy efficient lines, possibly using solar capturing technology and other green methods.
For a design to truly become a green building, both the design and then its construction must use the principles of ecology; that is that the resources used should be sustainably processed, and without excessively harming the environment from where those resources were from, and also where the green building is to be situated.
How do Green Architects Work?
The over-riding motivation of a green architect is to work with ecology, not to harm the environment, and to ensure their work and role in the construction or adaptation of a green building does not harm, and actually works with the natural environment. This is the only difference between them and a regular architect. The licenses and codes of conduct are generally the same, although green architects can opt in to green design certification bodies and forums.
Their motivation is to use energy efficient techniques in the design, by suggesting to the client both established and new methods and technologies that aid this process. This may include solar thermal, or geothermal heating and cooling techniques, the use of a particular type of wood, stone or other material, or a whole range of environmentally friendly possibilities.
How to Work with a Green Architect?
It is a good idea to ask around for recommendations of green architects. When you have a few names, meet them all, explain your proposed project to them, but also take care to go through their portfolio of designs and pictures of constructed buildings. Ask which green building techniques they favour, and why.
If there are any particular green energy efficient issues you have in mind and want to incorporate in a new green building, discuss this, and hear what the green architect has to say. Perhaps they might disagree, or make other suggestions or modifications to your original plan. Get a feeling for how you can work with this individual – do they really listen to your wishes? Are they too busy to devote much time to the project? Or perhaps they have no other work, which might mean they have a bad reputation? If possible, ask to visit any green buildings the architect may have worked on, and ask them to show you around it.
Also talk to anyone living in a green building that the architect has designed: ask him or her about the buildings strengths and weaknesses. The architect should encourage any prospective client to do a lot of their own research on existing green buildings, and green building methods. After all, it is the client who will be living or working in the building after construction or adaptation.
It is also important to find out from the architect which construction firm they work with – is the builder also motivated by green construction values, and environmentally friendly building? If this is important to you, the paying client, make sure the architect and builder knows before any contracts are signed, designs are started, and any building work or site inspection is carried out.