Emerging Green Builders

For Ashley Drake and Audrey Barth, both UM architecture students, involvement in sustainability efforts and environmental awareness extends beyond the classroom.

Sustainability, responsibility and environmental awareness are three ideals that members of the Emerging Green Builders (EGB) try to live by. EGB is a student organization that helps students learn about sustainable building and other aspects of green architecture.

Sustainability is the practice of living a lifestyle that does not use resources that may over-deplete or permanently damage the balance of world ecosystems. Thus green architecture incorporates the use of construction materials that do not cause an excessive strain on the natural environment.

“We are open to anyone who is interested in being a sustainable person,” Co-president Drake said.

EGB works locally with two national non-profit organizations on projects and ideas: Habitat for Humanity and Greenbuild.

“We’re looking to do a couple Habitat builds throughout the year and hopefully some sort of event or competition sponsored by the Miami chapter of USGBC,” Barth, EGB’s other co-president, said.

Greenbuild is an annual national conference that brings together architects and other professionals involved in the construction and material industries.

“We receive funding and donations each year and are able to send a group of students to Greenbuild,” Barth said.

Students who join EGB write proposal letters in hopes of being selected to attend Greenbuild’s annual conference. After the letters are submitted, several students are granted the opportunity to go to the Greenbuild conference through the scholarship program.

Last year’s conference was held in Arizona where students at Arizona State University held a doghouse building competition for college and high-school students. The competition encouraged young architects to test their abilities using solar panels, eco-friendly roofs and natural materials. This year’s Greenbuild conference will be held in Chicago from Nov. 17 to Nov. 19.

EGB is in process of a facelift and name change to join the nationally recognized U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

“The headquarters are located in D.C. Changing our name will primarily provide a more recognizable official connection for us, as USGBC will become our parent group,” Barth said.

EGB member Heather Smith said she enjoys being active in the organization.

“By being in the club, I get to learn about new green technologies,” Smith said. “I also get to meet other students that have the same interests.”

Not limited to architecture students, EBG offers membership to all UM students interested in sustainability and helping the community.

“We are trying to make it a more eco-friendly world,” Drake said.

EGB meets every Friday at 12:15 p.m. in the School of Architecture’s courtyard.

“We just want our members to be involved, and we’re trying to be more active in the general Miami community,” Barth said.

Grier Clark may be contacted at glark@themiamihurricane.com.