With rising sea levels escalating the chances of catastrophic flooding, and shifting weather patterns that are devastating to food production, climate change is a global emergency whose impact is unprecedented in scale. There is thus a growing need to improve our construction and manufacturing processes, building techniques, and lifestyle choices, looking for ways to become more sustainable. From buildings to entire cities, we’re constantly searching for technology to control hazardous emissions, shrink energy consumption, and minimize environmental impact. For an architect interested in green buildings, there has never been a better time than this to pursue a career in sustainable architecture.

The green building movement isn’t just a passing trend, but a global promise towards creating structures and building methods that won’t harm our natural environment. Engineers are focusing more on using renewable energy and locally-sourced, sustainable materials. There is also an increasing demand to retrofit and revamp existing buildings (including big commercial establishments) to become more environmentally responsible— lower air-conditioning costs, and reduce waste.

Here is a brief list of career opportunities for architecture students keen on sustainable architecture.

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1. Sustainable Architecture and Landscape Design at the Politecnico Di Milano

This program aims at imparting students with adequate theoretical skills and practical exposure in the field of sustainable architecture and landscape design. This master’s course at PoliMi opens up several career opportunities in both the private and public sectors (as covered by EU directives) in architecture, urban planning, and design. Do open the below link for further details on the application process, fees, and scholarships.


2. Get a LEED accreditation

To obtain a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accreditation, all you need to do is learn in detail the LEED standards in preparation for the accreditation exam. Upon clearing this exam, you will receive a LEED Green Associate credential or a LEED Accredited Professional credential. There is no eligibility requirement to appear for the LEED accreditation exam! Neither a degree nor LEED project experience. The only eligibility criterion is that the candidate must be eighteen years or older. One can appear for the LEED Green Associate exam or LEED AP exam from any Prometric center that offers the exam. Many cities in India, including Delhi, Mumbai, Kochi, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Pune, and Trivandrum have Prometric centers. For taking the exam, register and log in to your user account on www.usgbc.org site and then navigate to the credentials tab to select your exam, schedule the exam date and center. This a two-hour long exam that features hundred multiple-choice questions.

3. Work with an NGO

Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) working in the field of sustainability make significant contributions to the environment and the community. They’re responsible for substantial research and development, raising awareness, conservation, and a lot more, and it’s important for you, as a sustainability enthusiast, to be aware of the most prominent organizations working in sustainability today and identify which ones you could get involved with. These NGOs often offer valuable opportunities to students including research fellowships, hands-on workshops, internships, and volunteering positions.

Here are some influential NGOs in India working in this area.

  1. INTACH www.intach.org
  2. Indian Environmental Society www.iesglobal.org
  3. Centre for Environmental Studies www.cesorissa.org
  4. Centre for Science and Environment www.cseindia.org
  5. C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre (CPREEC) cpreec.org
  6. M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) www.mssrf.org
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4. Internship at Auroville

Every year, numerous researchers, students, volunteers, and interns visit Auroville from all around the globe to join its fun and resourceful learning journey in areas including architecture and design. Auroville offers plenty of study programs ranging from single-day workshops to programs lasting several weeks and months. Self and social development, sustainability, innovation, and eco-friendly building techniques are a few of the domains explored at Auroville. Undoubtedly, one’s experience in this beautiful, experimental town, goes beyond the framework of specific research programs or workshops.

The following link will take you to Auroville’s website- exclusively dedicated to educational opportunities.

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5. Join the Laurie Baker Centre

The fellowship program at the Laurie Baker Centre for Habitat Studies (LBC), Trivandrum is intended to bring together budding architects, civil engineers, urban planners, and social science researchers who are interested in acquiring hands-on experience in green habitat studies. Fellows will be involved in the documentation of the building plans and architectural methods authored by Architect Laurie Baker to identify and study its cost-efficacy and environmental sustainability. The program includes socio-economic and techno-ecological studies on housing schemes pioneered by Baker and innovations in green habitat.

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6. Masters in environmental planning from SPA, New Delhi

The main objective of this program is to train students in the scientific evaluation, planning, and development of environmentally sustainable human settlements. The focus areas of the study are environmental planning and design, measurement of pollution, environmental impact assessment and management, auditing, and risk assessment. Besides, the students are encouraged to take up internships with environmental agencies during summer breaks: , to gain industrial experience.

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7. Masters from CEPT (Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology)

CEPT University’s study and research programs are aimed at understanding, planning, designing, constructing, managing human settlements, and improving the impact of environmental professionals in upgrading the lives of people. CEPT also takes up advisory activities to further the goal of creating more sustainable habitats. Visit the below website for further details on the university’s educational programs to choose which one best suits you.

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Sowmya is an architectural journalist and writer. In this column, Sowmya takes you through stories on eco-architecture, biophilic design, and green buildings from across the globe.