Introducing Tenzing Gurung, Our New Coop Student
Photo: GH Crew member Nate Jones with Tenzing Gurung
We are happy to welcome Tenzing Gurung, a coop student from George Brown College to the Greening Homes team! We recently sat down with him to learn about what drew him to Greening Homes and about his interests in Green Building.
GH: What college program are you taking and what year are you in?
Tenzing Gurung: I’m currently half way through the three-year Building Renovation Technology Program at George Brown College.The program focuses on construction and building renovation skills, from both applied and management perspectives. There is a strong emphasis on sustainable design principles, new material applications and carpentry techniques in this program. The first two years focus on technical topics such as site layout, framing, finishing and custom mill work and the third year focuses heavily on business aspects such as budgeting, financial management, project management and estimating. So far I have enjoyed the program, specifically the shop classes, and have learned a lot about the construction industry.
GH: Do you have a background in carpentry? How did you become interested in it?
TG: Unfortunately, I do not have a background in carpentry but my experience working at a hardware store is what generated my interested in the trades.
GH: Is this your first Coop placement? What does a placement entail?
TG: This is my first co-op placement in college. The main purpose of a field placement is to help students get a feel for how a jobsite operates, to get some work experience, to apply what we have learned in school and to build connections. I’m more then halfway through the placement and a lot of what I have seen so far is very familiar, such as wood framing. We studied wood framing in our second semester and the site where I’m currently doing my placement has been completely gutted; being able to recognize and identify framing techniques, and seeing the structural resemblance to what I’ve learned in class and in texts is pretty rewarding.
GH: How did you first hear about Greening Homes?
TG: A friend of mine knows Eliot, your Operations Manager, and he connected us. After that, I visited your website and found a lot of your Green Practices familiar and interesting. In school, when it came time to start dismantling or deconstructing our projects, dividing waste and careful waste organization was something we focused on heavily so seeing that it is something that Greening Homes takes pride in was pretty encouraging. Also, seeing how one of your recent projects included the use of ICFs was very interesting. I understand that ICFs are not very popular in North America but are starting to gain traction. So, seeing that Greening Homes has worked with ICFs showed me that you are willing to try new and innovative methods of construction and materials, and that got me quite excited.
GH: Why are you interested in Green Building?
TG: In my second semester I took a course called “Building Science and the Environment” and became very interested in green building practices. I liked the idea of a house being a system and how every aspect of a house is interconnected. I am interested in Green Building because it is innovative and is always growing, it will eventually be the norm. I understand that Green Building is a lot more than just using green materials and that there are many aspects of the construction industry that can be improved upon by planning ahead and building efficiently. As much as I am interested in the innovative materials that are efficient and sustainable, I am also very interested in the ways to reduce, manage and divert waste.
GH: What do you hope to do, or to learn, during your placement?
TG: I hope to learn about the methods Greening Homes practices in order to complete a renovation in a more sustainable, efficient and responsible manner compared to the conventional methods. I have read about your green practices to reduce waste, your use of sustainable and innovative materials and I would like to see how all of these practices work together. Secondly, I hope to learn how to work smartly and efficiently, I understand that there are many ways to complete a job and that there are always ways to speed up a job without compromising quality and safety. Finally, I hope to learn how you decide upon which materials and techniques should be used for a job. I know that no two renovations are ever going to be the same, so I am interested in the thought process behind how you decide which materials and techniques would be best for a particular job.
GH: What kind of a career in construction/renovation are you hoping for when you’re done this program?
TG: I’m not certain about what I plan on doing after I finish the program, probably either continuing my education or starting an apprenticeship in carpentry. I still don’t have a concrete idea of exactly what I want to be doing in the future but it is definitely going to be somewhere in the green building industry, working both in design and on the tools.
GH: What are your thoughts on the sustainability of the current building industry?
TG: Since my placement with Greening Homes is my first time on an actual site, I don’t feel like I have enough experience to make an informed opinion. Although, it is my understanding that sustainable and efficient building strategies are starting to become quite popular and soon will be the norm.
GH: What do you hope the industry will look like in the future?
TG: I know that the construction and renovation industry likes to stay in its comfort zone and shies away from new technology, materials and practices but I hope that the industry will learn to adopt and accept new changes. Hopefully the industry will take the use of sustainable materials more seriously and start incorporating them into every project. Hopefully, efficient and sustainable use of materials, reduction and management of waste, and the impact that construction can have on the surrounding environment will all be taken into consideration during the design phase. Lastly, I hope that we see a continued growth in advancements in technology and techniques used for building and renovating more functional, efficient and environmentally friendly houses.
GH: How do you hope to contribute to the future of the industry?
TG: I hope to contribute by being environmentally conscious when I work, take waste reduction and diversion seriously and keep educating myself on new technological advancements in the field. One thing I hope to do is always be open minded about new practices and materials in an attempt to stay away from just one method of construction. Finally, I hope to help prove that sustainable building is valid and is equal or better than conventional methods by continuing to practice them.