Ann Arbor's Project Green creates building internships galore

Project Green intended to become a center for green building education in Ann Arbor, but it has also turned into a place for landing an internship in this emerging field.

The think tank, run by JS Vig Construction, employs one person from the Taylor-based firm and a handful of interns from the University of Michigan. That staff hosts tours and seminars centered on sustainable building at 157 E Hoover St. in the shadow of Michigan Stadium. It's central location just south of downtown has made it convenient for both participants and interns.

"Essentially, it's on the campus," says Joe Vig, CEO of JS Vig Construction. "It's walkable to Central Campus." That in itself is an environmentally friendly attribute and one that helps facilitate the internship program, which Vig expects to expand later this year.

So far 600 people have utilized
Project Green's green building resources since it opened in late 2008. Those people include local building owners, architects and engineers, among others. They have participated in classes, seminars and tours that specialize in everything from LEED certification to building retrofits.

Vig sees the later as a significant growth area in Michigan, a state that is fighting to rightsize itself and reinvent its economy. Put simply, there will be more demand for cheap existing building stock than creating expensive new construction.

"There is very little new construction and you have a lot of existing building stock," Vig says. "The average building is 30 years old and not very energy efficient."

Source: Joe Vig, CEO of JS Vig Construction
Writer: Jon Zemke