“The U.S. market for advanced energy products and services grew 14 percent in 2014, five times as fast as the U.S. economy overall. At just under $200 billion in revenue, advanced energy is now bigger than the U.S. airline industry, equal to the pharmaceutical industry, and nearly as large as consumer electronics.” Graham Richard CEO, AEE
I’m a green collar worker! That classification is the latest addition to the white collar and blue collar labels most of us are familiar with. It’s also becoming the hottest job opportunity due to the growing demand for sustainability at all levels of the economy.
“The renewable energy sector generates more jobs per megawatt of power installed, per unit of energy produced, and per dollar of investment, than the fossil fuel-based energy sector.” Professor Daniel M. Kammen et al University of California Berkeley
If you’ve never heard the “green collar” term it is the descriptor given to those who work in green jobs dealing with sustainability and energy efficiency. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics a green job is defined as:
1. Jobs in businesses that produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources.
2. Jobs in which workers’ duties involve making their establishment’s production processes more environmentally friendly or use fewer natural resources.
“Expanding the use of renewable energy is not only good for our energy self-sufficiency and the environment; it also has a significant positive impact on employment. This is the conclusion of 13 independent reports and studies that analyze the economic and employment impacts of the clean energy industry in the United States and Europe” Professor Dean Kammen
The rise in green collar jobs is the result of a situation occurring in our society that most of us are only beginning to comprehend. With the average age of buildings in the US now at 50 years old, the use of outdated energy-hogging technology is abundant and the opportunity to save energy is ripe. Many companies are taking sustainability and saving energy very seriously and realize it’s not just a public relations tool; it’s also a way to be financially and environmentally responsible. There is a big drive to adopt sustainability and it is resulting in job growth!
“Revenue from Building Efficiency products and services – the largest segment of U.S. advanced energy – has grown 43% over four years.” Navigant Research 2015 Market Report
A recent article posted on The Energy Alliance Group of Michigan’s (EAG) website included a growing list of their green renovation projects presently under development or in process. The article noted that along with an increase in green renovation projects has been a growing number of employees to handle the work load. One factor that is responsible for that growth is the expansion of the unique green financing program known as Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE).
EAG is a PACE project developer and encourages PACE financing on any project that qualifies. The unique structure of PACE encourages far more comprehensive energy efficiency projects which magnify energy savings. Since PACE projects require the energy savings to exceed the cost of the project, the cash flow of a company is not hindered by undertaking a green renovation, in most cases it actually increases!
While many corporate bodies embrace sustainability it is interesting to realize that forward thinking facility managers also understand how sustainability affects their jobs. In a recent discussion a facility manager noted how embracing energy efficiency protected his job and the jobs of all his staff. While the corporate office was primarily focused on creating and selling more products he knew that if he could keep the energy cost per product down, the company would ultimately be more profitable which made his job more secure.
The facility manager set out to become energy efficient by first understanding PACE and noted with pride: “We are mid way into an LED lighting conversion and are upgrading our 24 year old air compressors with VSD units and dryers – all huge cost savings for our operation!” When a company’s culture embraces sustainability at all levels, significant market advantages can occur.
“U.S. advanced energy market is $200 billion, up 14% vs. 2013, 5x the growth rate of the U.S. economy overall.” Navigant Research 2015 Market Report
As the benefits of energy efficiency, sustainability and green renovations are understood, the number of green projects will increase which will result in a great number of “green collar” jobs being created. It’s an exciting time to be involved in energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainability!
The Energy Alliance Group is always looking for great talent in the energy efficiency arena. If you’re interested in being considered for a position please contact us HERE.