Muskens: Sustainable economic methods a pathway to jobs

Today we can build buildings that contribute to the environment, instead of detract from it.

Kermit the Frog, one of the world’s most recognized puppets, years ago said: “It’s not easy being green.”

But being green today has a much different connotation than Kermit expressed way back in the early 1970s.

Today being green is associated with sustainability, which means adopting sustainable methods when producing goods, including food, and buildings that incorporate techniques and materials that don’t impact negatively on the environment.

A prime example of this is constructing a building where heating and cooling is reliant on solar energy or geothermal as opposed to a non-renewable resource such as oil and gas.

Although this may sound simple, using solar energy requires knowledge of specific construction techniques and materials that allow the solar energy to keep the building cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

A prime example of this type of building is the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation, located at the Penticton campus of Okanagan College.

Considered a living laboratory for green construction this two-year old building will be home to Okanagan College’s new three-year diploma program in Sustainable Construction Management Technology which begins this fall.

Students from across the country are expected to enrol in this program as there is industry and government support to begin to train project managers in the methods and building techniques required to build “green” buildings.

This program will provide students with the knowledge and understanding of what goes into large-scale building project with an emphasis in sustainable design principles.

With a green lens to look through, students will examine procurement processes, quantity surveying, sustainable construction and environmental impacts.

Considering the drive by many countries to adopt sustainable ways of living, I suspect these graduates won’t have trouble finding work both in Canada and abroad.

Upon graduation many students will have the skills and abilities to consider careers as site superintendents, general contractors or subcontractors, field coordinators, quantity surveyors,  inspectors or project managers.

Any young adult today who has a passion for the environment and wants to find a profession which clearly contributes to protecting mother Earth may want to consider this program.

Years ago when Kermit the Frog was young, there was talk about protecting the environment and even a few initiatives.

Today there is more than just talk. We can build buildings that contribute to the environment, instead of detract from it, we can run cars without gasoline, and through innovation we can build a better world .

To find out more about Okanagan College’s Sustainable Construction Management Technology Diploma Program, visit okanagan.bc.ca/scmt.

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