Published by the California Commissioning Collaborative, 2009, By Phil Welker, Executive Director
Buildings, Energy Efficiency and Green Professionals
The demand for high performance energy-efficient buildings is increasing with the enactment of aggressive climate change and economic recovery policies and initiatives.
But simply installing retrofits in existing buildings will not solve the problem. Energy efficient equipment must be tested, calibrated, controlled, verified and maintained to ensure efficiency is actually achieved.
Combining retrofits with efficient operations and maintenance of building systems is the answer to meeting the long-term goals for energy efficient buildings
High performance, energy-efficient facilities are designed and delivered by skilled professionals:
- Architects and engineers design and oversee the construction of new energy-efficient buildings.
- Energy conservation consultants and engineers work with building owners, operators and service technicians to develop and implement strategies for energy efficient buildings.
- Commissioning consultants are building systems integration experts who work on both new construction projects and in existing buildings to test, verify and monitor systems to ensure they are operating efficiently.
Currently, this workforce segment is made up of a small class of senior practitioners, few experienced practitioners at mid-career, and many young people entering the field.
Aggressive market drivers are increasing the demand for these Green Professionals:
Federal and State Mandates
- Energy independence and security
- Economic recovery
- Climate change actions
State and Local Building Codes and Standards
- Owner/Occupant Preference for Green Buildings
- Market value of LEED®, Energy Star® and other building certifications
While it is expected that demand for Green Professionals will exceed the current available workforce, this critical need has drawn little attention amidst the highly visible and vocal voices advocating for Green-Collar workforce development.
The Green Workforce depends on the health and vibrancy of both Green-Collar and Green Professional jobs.
Defining the Green Workforce
The 2009 California Green Innovation Index1 characterized green jobs as those that provide products and services leveraging renewable energy resources, reducing pollution, conserving energy and natural resources, and repurposing waste. The breadth of the green workforce is vast, with no consensus on its definition.
A Small Sample of “Green Jobs”
- Construction worker
- Power plant operator
- Energy engineers and analyst
- Computer technician
- Soil and plant scientist
- Mechanical and civil engineer
- Pipefitter and steamfitter
- Administrative personnel
- Maintenance technician
- Building Operator
- Commissioning Consultant
- Landscapers and groundskeeper
- Equipment installer
- Cost estimator
- Pollution Control Technician
- Manufacturing Line Worker
- Community Affairs Manager
- Landscape Architect
- Urban and Regional Planner
- Wastewater Operator
- Environmental Chemist