Guest Blog: The Importance of Being Green

This post was written by guest blogger Carol Schneider, Student IIDA.

As design students and emerging professionals we’ve all been exposed to the importance of ‘being green’ (and if you are a Michigan State Spartan like myself, you truly know how to GO GREEN!). But what does that really mean?  In an ever changing job market, there is one thing we can plan on remaining the same; the importance of being sustainable.  So – how do you jump on the  eco-friendly bandwagon, while making yourself stand out above the rest? I’ve found that there are many suitable resources out there for students.

  • LEED: Becoming LEED accredited is an automatic boost to your net value.  Not only do you gain valuable knowledge when studying for the test, but it opens up your eyes to the well-faceted aspects of environmentally friendly design.  However, there is a downside to taking this test: time.  studying for the LEED exam is not a quick and easy process.  But taking the time to study and pass the exam is going to show determination, dedication and skill. Three things  every employer wants.
  • Pick up a magazine: There are several publications dedicated directly to sustainability.  As students, we are very busy, read lots of books for required reading and research our hearts out in the local library.  Sometimes it’s a nice change or pace to flip through the pages of a magazine.  Magazines are a great sources for the latest trends and can give you alot of up-to-date knowledge and project inspiration. One of my favorites is Green Source Magazine, which focuses on all forms of sustainability; from projects, top competitions, products and conferences.  (One year subscription, usually $19.95)
  • Another great publication is Eco-Structure magazine, which is geared towards people in the green-building industry.  Eco-Structure focuses on green residential and commercial projects.  The great thing about this publication is that it is free to U.S. residents!
  • Practice What You Preach: Incorporate sustainability into your projects, and take advantage of opportunities like IIDA’s student design competition.  The competition is a great opportunity to practice utilizing sustainable resources while creating a portfolio booster.  Double the perks!

Now the hard part…put it to use!

  • You don’t have to work in a LEED certified building, or drive a hybrid car to be sustainable. Many publications, (like the ones listed above) have electronic versions, so you can stay updated on the latest sustainable topics through e-mail.  For students, check and see if your class books are available on-line. It may not seem like a lot, but each e-book is saving our resources, and also, saving money.
  • One of the most beneficial ways to be sustainable is to make an on-line portfolio. All designers need a portfolio anyways-so why not make an on-line version, it is a “green” option, and a valuable one to your career. (Check out mine www.carol-schneider.com)
  • At the end of the day, remember to incorporate your knowledge of sustainability when networking or interviewing. It is a tough job market, so go out there and be innovative, show employers that you are committed to being sustainable by getting involved with reputable competitions like the Student Sustainable Design Competition, view and vote for your favorite entries here.Would you like to be a guest blogger? Contact Michelle at mkraker@iida.org
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