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Re: Sustainable companies

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Man, I'd love to do the VE on your building. LEED certification really rankles me because misses the first law of conservation - the most environmentally friendly building is the one which is not built (you know: reduce, reuse, that order).  LEED appears to have become a placebo-salve for the excesses that architects and self-important owners inflict on society.

On the original post, you're spot on. Most of the people who have money to hire a design done properly generally want to show their wealth to everyone else. It's human nature.  My recommendation to Erik is to look for architecture firms who do sustainable design, and see if he can get a job with them.  Unfortunately, they're mostly going to be smaller firms which generally can't afford or justify a full time engineer on staff.

For now, suck it up and run the numbers. But look at your designs critically. Where could you have reduced materials or cost? Look for learning opportunities in sustainable architecture - seminars, lectures, etc. Go to them on your own dime, and make sure you talk to people while you're there. That's how you'll make the contacts you'll need in the future to find the "perfect" job...or perhaps the clients you'll need if you decide to try and create your perfect job from scratch.

Gerard Madden, SE wrote:
I hear ya Erik,

but ask this, how many people can even afford an architect let alone a
structural engineer for a practical house design? Not many, they use
drafters and conventional construction. The one's with real money or
ones hoping to develop and sell do use professionals. Maybe your
family is Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and they're planning to adopt

I'm working on building right now that is 100,000 sq. foot LEED
Platinum building that in my opinion is complete fleecing of taxpayer
money (it's a school, $450 bucks a square foot construction costs).
The building is so damn heavy, with so many diaphragm openings,
cantilevers everywhere...the amount of steel and concrete required is
probably 50% more than it would be if it was just a regular building.

Don't get me wrong, engineering wise, it's very enjoyable and
challenging, but practically speaking, it feels weird because it's
seems to be way too much for a school. Maybe I just don't understand
LEED enough to see the long term...

My point is, it's not our decision. We're not architects. We have to
make it as economical yet constructable as possible to save what money
we can for the client and still have a good design. The architect's
job is to make the building serve it's function and if it's in the
budget, make it stand out. Until the value engineering comes into
play, they'll maximize the design to stay close to the budget. On my
project, many things have already been scaled back, but still, it's
got pretty much everything going on and keeps me on my toes. The
architect is really good too, it's just the fact that it's taxpayer
money is what bothers me.


On Nov 9, 2007 7:27 PM, erik gibbs <erik.gibbs(--nospam--at)> wrote:
I have been working at a structural engineer company for the past 2 years
since I graduated and I like the work, but there are some aspects that I do
not like.

I do not like engineering large, very large custom homes with a lot of
wastefull architecture. For example, 5000 sf plus homes for a middle aged
family of 2?? I also do not like a lot of the architectural aspects that are
nothing but waste. Using 8x columns and beams for a trells is utterly BS,
unless they intend on doubling the trellis structure as a heli-port.

I am interested in working for either a structural or architectural company
that specializes in "function before form", or green design and building. I
have looked but I have not seen many in Southern California.

What are your thoughts on sustainable structural engineering/ building and
or what companies implement this design method?

Thanks for all the help that I have recieved from past posts.

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