Shades of the Green Workforce: The Need for Green Professionals in the New Energy Economy

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.
Energy Use in Buildings
72% of electricity consumption
39% of energy use
38% of all carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions
(According to the U.S. Green
Building Council)
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.
California Commissioning Collaborative
Green Professionals in the New Energy Economy 3
Aggressive market drivers are increasing the demand for these Green Professionals:
Federal and State Mandates
o
Energy independence and security
o
Economic recovery
o
Climate change actions
State and Local Building Codes and Standards
Consumer Demand
o
Owner/Occupant Preference for Green Buildings
o
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
Carpenter
Energy engineers and analyst
Computer technician
Soil and plant scientist
Mechanical and civil engineer
Plumber
Pipefitter and steamfitter
Hydrologist
Administrative personnel
Maintenance technician
Building Operator
Commissioning Consultant
Landscapers and groundskeeper
Equipment installer
Cost estimator
Pollution Control Technician
Ecologist
Toxicologist
Economist
Manufacturing Line Worker
Forester
Community Affairs Manager
Landscape Architect
Urban and Regional Planner
Wastewater Operator
Environmental Chemist
What is clear is that a number of “shades of green” make up the Green Workforce.

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
Consumer Demand
  • 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
  • Carpenter
  • Energy engineers and analyst
  • Computer technician
  • Soil and plant scientist
  • Mechanical and civil engineer
  • Plumber
  • Pipefitter and steamfitter
  • Hydrologist
  • Administrative personnel
  • Maintenance technician
  • Building Operator
  • Commissioning Consultant
  • Landscapers and groundskeeper
  • Equipment installer
  • Cost estimator
  • Pollution Control Technician
  • Ecologist
  • Toxicologist
  • Economist
  • Manufacturing Line Worker
  • Forester
  • Community Affairs Manager
  • Landscape Architect
  • Urban and Regional Planner
  • Wastewater Operator
  • Environmental Chemist

What is clear is that a number of “shades of green” make up the Green Workforce.

Read the full article here, or upload it from the CCC's Resource Library