Green consultants are a fairly new breed – a direct response to growing awareness on global environmental issues, such as global warming, as well as the need for sustainable development.
One of the main uses of green consulting firms is to plan, co-ordinate and implement clean up strategies, when a particular piece of land or property has been subject to contamination.
Another function would be to assess the environmental impact of a particular development or similar project on a piece of land, or to assist architects in designing and building environmentally friendly houses and other buildings.
All of these can be further broken down into specific aspects of green consulting, or consulting related to environmental impact. Here are a few of the more specific niches:
- Environmental planning, which involved the pre assessment of sites designated for construction or development. Particularly useful when the planned site is on or near an environmentally sensitive area, such as a wetland or other natural resource.
- Management of hazardous waste. When companies or people process materials to manufacture goods, whether on a large or small scale, there is always some form of waste material. When that material is hazardous to humans or the environment, those companies are compelled by law to dispose of the waste in a safe manner. This is where green consultants come in.
- Redevelopment of brown fields, where land has already been contaminated, is another area where green consulting firms may become involved. In this instance, the job of the consulting firm would be to best determine how the land can be rehabilitated for reuse.
- Waste management. Whether solid or wastewater, humans create a large amount of waste! This form of green consulting requires the consultant to investigate the best siting of treatment facilities, as well as optimal operations plans.
- Green information management, where processes are automated and refined for such facilities is another field that may be of interest.
- Air pollution related fields are concerned with all things related to air quality. From research and investigation of potential pollution, to applying for permits to developing and improving facilities and conducting audits, these consultants help make sure our air stays a little cleaner.
- Lastly, with growing concern about carbon footprints, and interest in alternative energies and more, a new type of consultant, those concerned with designing environmentally friendly buildings, or converting existing buildings, has become a popular choice. These consultants could advise on building with reclaimed materials, using alternative energies such as wind and solar power, and even how best to site a building, limiting heating and cooling costs.
With so many different branches of green and environmental consulting, and more sure to be developed as we realize the effects of our impact on the environment, there are plenty of choices for the aspiring green consultant.
If you are planning to make a career move into the green field, you’d be well advised to investigate all available niches, and choose one that best matches your individual skills, talents and experience.