The Environment: The average consumer can help the environment by recycling, bringing their own bags on shopping excursions, and carpooling to reduce automobile emissions. But architects play an important role in counteracting climate change, particularly when they use eco-friendly building materials and construct buildings so that they’re in harmony with their surroundings. Architects are leaning towards creating more LEED Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design buildings that help conserve energy and resources while creating less waste. But a home or commercial building doesn’t need to be LEED rated to be sustainable. Architects can incorporate features that can make a difference in a variety of ways. Green architecture is incorporating several creative features and best practices to create buildings with the lowest possible impact on the environment. One of the newest trends is the rise of the green roof, or rooftop garden. The plants in a green roof help add more nature to predominantly urban areas, but also help improve air quality and provide a nesting space for insects and birds. Solar energy is another way in which modern architecture is helping the environment. Solar shingles provide a one-two punch for homeowners by doubling as a home’s roof and harvesting solar energy which helps reduce energy usage and bills, not to mention they more seamlessly blend in with a home unlike standalone solar panels. More architects are also suggesting bamboo as a natural building material to help preserve more hardwood trees. While traditional hardwood trees take 20 years or more to mature for usage, bamboo reaches maturity in just three to five years. It’s also extremely durable, water resistant, and easy to clean while being priced relatively the same as most hardwood. Building design is also exploring ways to conserve water consumption and offer more water-efficient technologies. Everything from cooling equipment to the type of shower head and faucets installed in a building can impact water usage. As climate change becomes more prominent, architects will continue to answer the call to construct buildings in creative ways that can help benefit the environment. Want to learn more about environmental designers?