Posts Tagged ‘Architecture’

LEED-ing the Way

Friday, August 6th, 2010

leed_certification

What is LEED?

This week, Sinclair Community College student Senya Oji-Njideka described the school’s Civil Engineering Technology program, which emphasizes energy conservation and energy analysis. In the course of his description, he mentioned several national programs being implemented to help save energy. One of those is the LEED building certification program — we did a little more homework to find out what LEED is all about and why it’s critical to Architectural Technology students — or anyone who is interested in buildings, and in the future of the planet.

LEED actually stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The voluntary certification program was at the forefront of the energy conservation effort, established in 1998 by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). If a building has been “LEED-certified” it means that it is environmentally sound, constructed with materials and methods that are water-efficient and energy-efficient. It also means that it was designed with an eye to reduced carbon emissions and improved indoor air quality.

Within the U.S., more than 15,000 buildings have been LEED-certified, and that number is increasing as businesses and institutions become more concerned with the environment. Certification is based on a point-based ranking, and a building gains points based on seven different categories: Energy and Atmosphere; Sustainable Site; Indoor Environmental Air Quality; Materials and Resources; Water Efficiency; and Innovation in Design. Points are given for such things as using low-emitting materials in painting, flooring and adhesives to reusing existing materials during a reuild to creating a water efficient landscape.

So, what does this all mean to Senya and other students interested in careers in the building industry?

It means that, going forward, a thorough knowledge of LEED requirements is extremely useful — and often mandatory — for careers in Architectural Technology and Civil Engineering. The USGBC offers “LEED Professional Accreditation” to demonstrate a person’s expertise and ability to guide a building project through the LEED certification process. Exams are given in several categories, including the LEED-NC (New construction/major renovation), LEED-EB (Existing Building) and LEED-CI (Commercial Interior).

Check out the USGBC website where you’ll find plenty of background on green building initiatives as well as LEEDS-related laws and incentives that are being implemented in communities throughout the country to promote environmentally responsible building projects — both commercial and residential. The website also goes into more detail regarding LEEDS certification requirements and can direct you to exam-prep courses and other instruction to help prepare for LEEDS accreditation testing.

ATETV Episode 44: Impacting the Future, One Experience at a Time

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

This week, we visit a community college that has designed its Civil Engineering program with direct input from local industry, and talk with a student who is paying attention to energy conservation in his classroom work – and in his personal life.

In our first segment, we talk with Tressa Gardner of the South Carolina ATE Center, who describes the relationship between Florence-Darlington Technical College and the region’s area industries. It turns out that it’s mutually beneficial.

“We have great industry in this area, and it’s very important that we supply these [businesses] with the workers that they need,” says Tressa. As a result of this forward-thinking approach, Florence-Darlington graduates have many job opportunities to consider, be it as an engineering technician for a welding and cutting products company, a career in automation or a future as an “E and I” tech working in electrical and instrumentation technology.

As Tressa explains, a big reason why these job opportunities are available is the “hands-on” training that Florence-Darlington’s engineering students receive.

“The Pythagorean Theorem makes no sense if you just [work on it all day] without any real-life context,” she says. But, she adds, Florence-Darlington students discover that if they wind up working in power distribution for Progress Energy company, they’ll actually use the Pythagorean Theorem every day.

In our second segment, we learn that a similar “reality check” is in place at Sinclair Community College, where Civil Architectural Technology student Senya Oji-Njideka is applying new energy conservation skills to his classroom work, as well as to his own future.

“I have gotten more interested in energy analysis and energy conservation since I’ve been at Sinclair,” Senya explains. “Energy analysis is taking into account all the resources that you’re using at [one] time…and then making sure that you’re using what you need and only what you need, and not wasting at all.”

Senya finds that this mindset is not only good for his education, it’s just plain good. “I constantly find myself making people aware of how they’re using energy and how much it really costs, not just to their pocketbook, but also to the environment…. This is the future of technology. Everybody on the planet is going to have to [start conserving]. You’ve got to start somewhere.”

From Blueprint to Building: The Role of an Architectural Technologist

Friday, July 16th, 2010

Architect

Have you ever admired a building and stopped to think about how it came to be? There are many, many steps along the way, and one of the critical roles is played by Architectural Technologists, who work behind the scenes as a vital link between architects and construction crews. In fact, Architectural Technologists provide much of the nuts-and-bolts infrastructure necessary to transform a blueprint into an actual building.

Here are a few of the responsibilities that are typically handled by Architectural Technologists:

*Analysis of technical documents and reports used in construction planning, including building codes and by-laws, and space and site requirements

*Making initial determinations as to which materials will be needed for a building project.

*Determining site specifications and cost estimates, as well as preparing contracts and bidding documents for the construction work.

*Drafting and sketching. The core responsibility of the architectural technologist is usually drafting, which is the creation of the technical drawings that will be used by the construction company. Often using Computer Aided Design and Drafting (CADD) systems, Architectural Technologists can create and store electronic versions of the drawing and quickly make edits to existing designs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, drafters held over 250,000 jobs in 2006, with about half of all drafting jobs coming from architectural, engineering and construction service firms that design projects for other industries.

Technologists who have completed a technical degree program and possess CADD skills have enhanced desirability as job candidates. Many community colleges offer Associates degree programs in Architectural Technology, like Boston’s Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, featured in this week’s ATETV Episode. Here are a few more community college programs to check out:

St. Louis Community College. The college’s Digital Arts and Technology Alliance (DATA) was created to integrate technology resources with the demand for training in digital arts, including in the field of architectural design. The Center for Visual Technology, a DATA component features state-of-the-art computer graphics equipment and software and offers specialized workshops for established professionals to upgrade their skills.

Bluegrass Community and Technical College has been in existence more than 30 years, offering Kentucky’s only Architectural Technology program. The school’s student chapters of the American Institute of Architects and the Building Official and Code Administrators (BOCA) offer students opportunities to network with professionals.

And, the Associate’s degree program in Architectural Technology at Capital Community College in Hartford, Connecticut, not only provides students with job opportunities as draftsmen for architectural and engineering programs, but can also serve as a stepping-stone into a Construction Technology program or a degree program to become a licensed architect. You can view a slideshow of works by CCC students at their website.

A final note: Collegeboard.com, suggests that if you’re considering a major in Architectural Technology, you should be ready to a) Interpret blueprints; b) Submit your plans for critique; c) Become an expert in building materials; d) Prepare mock cost estimates; e) Log time in the computer lab; and f) Be precise and accurate — details are everything in this line of work.

ATETV Episode 41: Passionate About Their Careers

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

This week, we look at three technological careers that enable students to also draw on their artistic and creative sides — and fulfill some of their life’s passions.

In our first segment, we talk with Andrew Godek, an Architectural Technology student at the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology in Boston. Currently studying Architectural Design Studio, a free-hand drawing class in which students design their own houses, Andrew is pleased to have had the opportunity to express his creativity. His advice for future students? “If someone is thinking of going into the Architectural Technology field, I recommend [being in] the city, where there are always great job opportunities.” His second piece of advice: “Definitely have the passion for drawing and be good in math. That’s all I can say.”

And while Andrew is looking forward to influencing the landscape of the city, our second segment introduces us to Chris Eckert, a student who is influencing the design of new products through the Rapid Prototype Technologies program at Saddleback Community College.

“I kind of grew up in hardware store so….the idea of taking things apart and putting them back together [is natural]” explains Chris. “I’m a real mechanical person and seeing a product come out of nothing is pretty amazing to me.”

Technicians skilled in rapid prototying are in tremendous demand in today’s manufacturing marketplace. This type of modeling enables companies to test functionality on a low-cost model before going into actual production — saving time and money. And for students like Chris, the field is also a chance to create his own inventions. “[Inventing] – that’s where my passion is,” he tells us.

Finally, in our third segment, we visit Central Piedmont Community College, where the Geospatial Technology Program is helping students move directly into the workforce as soon as they finish their degrees.

“Every one of our students [from the past two years] is employed in the Geospatial Technology field,” says Central Piedmont’s Chris Paynter. “They’re working for county government, city government and private engineering firms.” And they, too, are being creative, whether out in the field mapping and conducting GPS data collection, or working in an ofice on quality control and quality assurance.

Community college programs like these are helping students set out on the paths that are right for them. You might say they’re literal roadmaps to the future.

ATETV Episode 35: On the Pulse of the Future

Monday, May 17th, 2010

This week, we visit a community college that is working hand-in-hand with the fuel cell industry to prepare students for jobs of the future, hear from a professional firefighter who has returned to school to study Civil Architectural Technology and visit an ROV underwater robotics competition that is helping students and employers to connect with one another.

In our first segment, we visit Stark State College, where a state-of-the-art Fuel Cell Technology program is providing employers with student employees trained in the industry’s most up-to-date technologies and mechanics.

“We’re in the process of developing technology that will eventually be designed into a product — the stationary solid oxide fuel cell system,” explains Mark Fleiner of Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems, which has its headquarters on the Stark State campus. “[The Stark State Fuel Cell Technology] program gives us the opportunity to work [directly] with students, to get students into our business to see how things work in our company and to see if there’s a good fit between the student and our business needs.”

And the college’s focused approach of aligning educational curriculum with industry needs is beneficial for students and employees alike. “External partnerships for colleges are critical because it lets us keep our hand on the pulse of what’s happening in our fields,” says Stark State’s Dennis Trenger. “Without [our] business partners coming back and saying, ‘Here are the skills that we need for future employees,’ we’d be shooting in the dark.”

In our second segment, Sinclair Community College student Jon Flynn describes his return to the college’s Civil Architectural Technology Program — after 15 years in the firefighting field. “In 1993, I believe it was, I started this program at Sinclair,” Jon explains. But a switch to a Fire Science Technology major led Jon to a career as a professional firefighter. Now, he says, he’s back to where he started so that he’ll have another career to fall back on.

And, as he describes, today’s Civil Architectural Technology is a whole new field compared with 15 years ago. “The technology has come so far compared to when I was initially in the program,” he explains. “There was no such thing as green building and not nearly as much emphasis on saving energy.”

Today’s focus on sustainable buildings has Jon excited about his future. “I’ve always dreamed of being able to design a building for a client that was completely self-sufficient, [making use of] solar power, wind power [or] geothermal technology. This might be a little bit down the road, but we are certainly going in the right direction.”

Finally, in our third segment, we talk with participants at the MATE (Marine Advanced Technology Education Center) International ROV competition. “ROV stands for remotely operated vehicle,” explains Jill Zande of the MATE Center. And, through this annual underwater robotics competition, students are not only developing problem-solving, critical-thinking and team-work skills, they are learning that there are a sea of opportunities open to Marine Technology students.

“One of the things that this contest does is open [students’] eyes to disciplines [that they might not otherwise have considered]” explains Fritz Stahr of the University of Washington. “You know, we have students who come here from an engineering [curriculum] and now they’re beginning to see something of oceanography. We have others who are coming from a science background and they begin to realize that there are a lot of challenges in engineering. The career paths available are varied and they can range from marine policy to actual engineering design and from the building of new instrument systems to the actual role of the research scientist, using ROVs to gather data about how the oceans work.”

As today’s episode demonstrated, when it comes to emerging technologies, community colleges really do have their hands on the pulse of the future — where a sea of opportunities await.

What Makes a Building “Green”?

Friday, May 7th, 2010

What Makes a Building “Green”?

In this week’s episode, Architectural Technologies student Christina Sullenberger succinctly summed things up when she told us, “Everything now is becoming green.”

She was, of course, referring to today’s emphasis on “green building.” But what, exactly, makes a building “green”?

According to the website www.greenhomebuilding.com, in the case of residential homes, much of a building’s greenness boils down to the use of energy. For example, how much energy is used in the building materials themselves, in their transportation and assembling? And, once a building is constructed, how much energy does it require to keep its inhabitants comfortable?

“Green” buildings require less energy for a number of reasons: They are constructed from an area’s local materials, which means they didn’t have to travel as far to reach their destination and didn’t burn as much fossil fuel in the process. They are also less likely to be processed by industry. So, for example, in Colorado, local building materials might consist of rocks, sand and adobe. “Green” buildings also rely on recycled materials. By using existing materials, “green” builders keep materials out of landfills and keep them from being transported for further processing. And “green” buildings take advantage of the sun’s heat. Good passive solar design provides just enough sunlight to be absorbed by the room’s surrounding thermal mass (usually masonry materials) so that the heat will be given back to the room when the sun goes down.

Now, for a look at some buildings that more than fit these descriptions, check out www.inhabitat.com. Dedicated to “design that will save the world,” inhabitat.com has come up with some fascinating examples of sustainable architecture: everything from a two-story pavilion in China constructed entirely of bamboo…

Bamboo German- Chinese House

Bamboo German- Chinese House

To a cozy Minnesota cabin made of used shipping containers…

Holyoke Cabin- Minnesota

Holyoke Cabin- Minnesota

A minimalist adobe brick home in Texas…..

Texas Adobe Home

Texas Adobe Home

And even a mixed-use building in Armenia literally covered in native plants which act to absorb heat and filter air and water.

Lace Hill: A Living Green Mountain

Lace Hill: A Living Green Mountain

Christina was right: Green really is everywhere.

ATETV Episode 29:Alternative Paths to a Technical Career

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

This week, we look at alternative programs at community colleges that help high school students to get a head start on their studies — and others that are providing individuals with the opportunity to make career changes later in life.

In our first segment, we look at dual-enrollment programs, which enable high school students to earn college credits. Michael Bucklew, a student at Stark State College studying Electromechanical Engineering, took advantage of this option.

“I took a lot of my core classes while in high school,” explains Michael. “Through the early college program…I took a class learning about different types of energy, and thought it was interesting.” This early exposure helped Michael decide to pursue studies in Fuel Cell Technology at Stark State. “My dad’s an electrician, and he taught me how to enjoy working with my hands, how to build things and take them apart.” At Stark State, Michael is similarly learning the mechanics that lie beneath fuel cell technologies — by taking things apart and putting them back together.

“I would [eventually ] like to see myself working for NASA,” says Michael. And starting with Stark State’s dual enrollment program, Michael has taken his first step on a career path in Space Aeronautics.

In our second segment, we meet student Howard Drucker who, after 35 years running his own company, decided to forge a new career path — with the help of Sinclair Community College.

“I’m 58 years old, studying Architectural Technology and planning a second career,” explains Howard. “My friends were very impressed because quite honestly, they couldn’t believe that at my age I would go back to school. They didn’t think I could do it.”

Howard has not only proved his friends wrong, he’s found a whole new source of inspiration in his classmates at Sinclair. “I found my experience with the younger students very enjoyable. They’re bright, young, excited about getting started.”

Finally, in segment three, we look at a program that helps students find their way — literally and figuratively!

The Geographic Information Systems Technology Implementation Project courses at Del Mar College provides students with opportunities to learn the many applications of GIS and Geospatial Technologies.

” [Students studying GIS] can look at a wide variety of career possibilities,” explains Del Mar’s J.J. Nelson. “Agra, marine sciences, marketing, sales, law enforcement, communications — there’s a geospatial application to [all of these].”

And besides offering a multitude of industry choices, GIS also provides students with options in terms of the type of work environment they would like — whether it be indoors or outdoors, in front of a computer or at a park or a ball field. “When people need to know where things are in a world that’s getting smaller, geospatial technologies and GIS are the way to go,” says J.J.

No matter the course you decide to take, ATE centers can help point you in the right direction. And as this episode has shown, there’s more than one route to your final destination.