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Climate Change Will Influence How I Design

In the past, as students traveled along their academic journey, their primary goal was to obtain a great paying job in a well-respected profession. For students today, stakes are much higher as the world awakens to the issues of climate change on our planet. We can no longer afford to aim for a career that pays us generously but should instead, begin to consider careers that allow us opportunities to have a positive impact on the environment. When it comes to our careers, there are many ways we can take the smallest of opportunities to do our part in reducing climate change.

Upon completion of my studies,  I will enter the design field as an Architectural Designer with plans to become a licensed architect. As a licensed architect, my goal is to specialize in Sustainable and Building Performance Design. In high school, before studying Architecture, I learned about climate change and the issues the earth faces because of it. From then on, I developed an interest in sustainability. Along my academic journey, I began to learn a lot more about the environment, climate change, sustainability, and their relationship to one another. Before studying architecture, I knew that whatever career I choose, I would use it in whatever way I can to positively impact the environment. When introduced to the world of Architectural Design, I began to see it as an opportunity to design buildings that have little to no negative impact on the environment.

As I began to understand the environment and the role we play as its inhabitants, I also began to understand my role as an architect in this present world. In the past century, there have been high levels of CO2 emissions released into the atmosphere. Over the past century, there have been hundreds of buildings erected with many of the world’s growing in densely populated cities with many buildings forming their skylines. With buildings representing approximately 40% of the CO2 emissions released into the atmosphere, we face a serious problem if we are seeking to reduce the number of emissions we release.

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As a professional architect, when designing buildings, my role will be to design buildings that have little to no negative impact on the environment. That means sourcing materials that are environmentally friendly, locally sourced, recycled and ethically made while limiting the need to use brand new materials. Also, incorporating the use of natural resources such as daylight and water allows the building to heat and cool itself. Using rainwater and recycling greywater will reduce the need for various plumbing systems. Using solar energy to provide heating during the winter and electricity will reduce the need for mechanical heating. Incorporating green spaces where possible provides ways to gather and store water, create wildlife habitats, provide areas to grow food or open spaces for people to enjoy the outdoors. Designing with these intentions allows me to contribute to our world buildings that no longer destroy the environment but instead begins to give back to it. It is safe to say that climate change has become widely accepted as a reality for many of us. We hear about it in politics, from brands choosing to adopt sustainable practices and YouTubers adopting sustainable and ethically conscious lifestyles.

Although my intentions and practices may be great, we all know that this is not enough to reverse or even reduce the effects of climate change. As inhabitants of this Earth, we share this one planet. Everyone as a collective can do their part, whatever part it maybe. Whether big or small, as a collective, it is more effective if we adopt some form of practice that helps to reduce the amount of CO2 emissions we release. Therefore, as an Architect, I aim to specialize in building projects that allow me to design buildings that are sustainable and are high performing to the expectation that they will release zero carbon emissions. By doing just that, I am also raising awareness by leading by example. It is more effective to show someone what implementing sustainable practices looks like provide and the tools necessary to begin to implement them.

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