What are the Different Types of Environmental Consulting Services?

Anna B. Smith

Environmental consulting services are offered for air quality improvement, increasing energy efficiency, protecting natural wildlife habitats, and upgrading waste management. These services are typically offered by privately-funded companies with the objective of improving every aspect of the environment. The businesses are typically hired by corporations to consult on issues of Geo-friendly building development and construction.

A wind farm set up with the help of an environmental consultant.
A wind farm set up with the help of an environmental consultant.

Many of the companies that offer environmental consulting services are non-profit organizations. They may raise capital through fundraising, donors, and by charging the corporations who hire them for certifications. Certification as an environmentally-friendly or green building typically requires passing an inspection in which the building achieves a set of standards. These are usually created by the company offering the certification.

Environmental consultants may work with waste management companies.
Environmental consultants may work with waste management companies.

Air quality refers to maintaining both indoor and outdoor air purity. An environmental consulting services team usually guarantees that the process of erecting new construction will not leech a large amount of carbon dioxide into the air. They also certify that the building uses safe materials that will not create by-product pollutants in the air inside the building, where people may work or live.

Energy efficiency measures the amount of resources, like electricity and natural gas, consumed by a building during the construction process, and during its proposed everyday use. Buildings may become more energy independent through use of renewable energy sources, such as water, wind, and solar power. An example of an energy-efficient building model is the New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado. Its internal electricity is generated by a wind farm and the methane by-products made by recycling wastewater from the brewing process. The brewery's owners and creators have also worked with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to install a solar photovoltaic array to further reduce the building's carbon footprint.

Environmental consulting services often work on both new and existing building projects to eliminate habitat destruction and protect existing natural wildlife near and around the work site. This may include identifying specially protected areas and obtaining government permits to build within them. This often involves making presentations before various members of local government, to provide assurances that proposed projects meet all environmental efficiency standards and do not create unnecessary pollution.

Many buildings create a large amount of waste both during the construction phase and in daily use. Consulting services can offer corporations creative ways to dispose of this waste without negatively impacting the environment. Often these solutions provide further energy efficiency for the building. For example, waste-water may be treated before being fed into a public water system. It may also be recycled into the building for fuel or nutritive sludge used for gardening purposes.

A building that achieves a green certification is guaranteed by a particular consulting firm to be environmentally-friendly. This not only encompasses the type of construction that occurred and the building’s energy use, but also the attitudes of the owners of the corporation. Such certifications usually attest to the corporation’s awareness of environmental problems, and its willingness to positively affect change in its community.

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