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5 Hot Green Jobs Available Today

Photo: A worker builds green barracks at Fort Eustis, Va
A worker builds "green" barracks at Fort Eustis, Virginia. All new construction in the Department of Defense must qualify for LEED Silver certification. Photo: Neal Snyder, U.S. Army Environmental Command

 

There’s been a lot of talk about green jobs over the past few years. Not all the hype has panned out, but there has also been real progress.

The following are some of the hottest green jobs around:

Solar Professionals

The power of the sun is growing green jobs for installers, salespeople, and entrepreneurs looking to tap into a renewable energy market that is dramatically outperforming the economy at large. As the price of this green power source continues to drop, more businesses and individuals may be encouraged to install their own arrays.

The Solar Foundation, a nonprofit advocacy organization for the industry, reported that during 2011 solar job growth boomed at nearly 10 times the rate of overall employment gains. And while sunny (and incentive-friendly) California is the top solar state, the technology is spreading far and wide, with less-obvious locations like Pennsylvania and New York both ranking in the top five in terms of solar employment.

“In spite of the recession we’ve seen surprisingly robust growth,” said David Foster, executive director of the BlueGreen Alliance, a national partnership of labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to the green economy. “Renewable energy production in this country has doubled in the past 5 years, and in solar and wind we’ve increased the number of jobs by 70,000, while other parts of the economy were losing jobs.”

Autoworkers

The automobile industry doesn’t have a very green reputation, but it’s a top success story in green job growth according to BlueGreen Alliance’s David Foster. (The organization counts United Auto Workers among its members, along with environmental organizations like the Sierra Club.)

“The Obama Administration’s three-pronged attack of stabilizing the U.S. auto industry, introducing fuel economy rules, and targeting tax assessments around advanced auto manufacturing has demonstrated how taking an important step towards solving climate change can also have a beneficial job creation rate,” Foster said.

“And a sector of the economy that had historically been very opposed to embracing a clean economy is now seeing a resurgence and the creation of tens of thousands of jobs for exactly that reason.”

Green Builders

These are bad times for many builders but one segment of the industry has been upbeat—engineers, contractors, and other professionals working to build and upgrade buildings to greener LEED standards.

“The continuing interest in energy savings has been very helpful and the growth of green architecture is an area of great interest,” said Foster. “There is value in real estate investment that is directly associated with green standards.”

Numbers from a McGraw-Hill Construction study unveiled at the National Association of Home Builders show earlier this year back up that assertion—and project even greater gains in the future. Green homes comprised 17 percent of the residential construction market in 2011, the report stated, and will reach between 29 and 38 percent of the market by 2016. Older homes are getting greener as well; 34% of all remodelers said they expect to do mostly green work by 2016. That’s a 150% jump over 2011 levels.

Sustainable Farming

We all have to eat, but feeding Earth’s 7 billion (and growing) people is taking an ever-greater toll on the planet’s natural resources. That’s why sustainable farming continues to gain traction, producing more healthy foods while using less of everything from pesticides to energy.

The Organic Trade Association’s 2011 industry survey showed a nearly 10 percent jump in U.S. organic sales from 2009 to 2010, continuing the trend of an industry that soared from sales of $1 billion annually in 1990 to nearly $27 billion in 2010.

And organic experts expect these trend to continue. The Organic Farming Research Foundation projects that the number of organic farmers in the U.S. must triple by 2015 to meet demands for organic foods. That should provide rewarding green jobs for those who like to get their hands dirty.

Sustainability Professionals

Some of the greenest jobs available involve helping existing businesses, from across the economic spectrum, operate as responsibly and sustainably as possible. That’s where the growing ranks of sustainability professionals come in, armed with sustainable or “green” MBAs and other degrees or concentrations from universities dedicated to educating the next generation of green decision makers.

It’s a rare business that isn’t focused on making money. But each day more corporations are embracing the “Triple Bottom Line” of Profit, People, and Planet, no matter what type of widget they produce. And the growing industries and businesses overtly dedicated to the green economy are also in search of leaders who understand how to create synergy between environmental responsibility and economic success.

 

Brian Handwerk is a freelance writer based in Amherst, New Hampshire. 

Comments

  1. Razaad
    Western Cape Citrusdal
    July 14, 10:42 am

    My name is Razaad Ruiters I am 20 years old and I am looking for a job.I live in a small town called Citrusdal I would really like it if you can give me a chance thank you.

  2. Ron S
    August 15, 2013, 12:10 am

    If you live in a country that has sun and warm temperature all year round that green jobs are in solar panels and installing solar hot water heaters and small windmills also don’t over look energy storage systems.

  3. hamayun
    pakistan
    August 3, 2013, 9:42 am

    i am a gypsy and i will love to join you:-)

  4. matthew arhin
    Athens Greece
    June 1, 2013, 9:15 pm

    i am 43 year old Ghanian living in Greece…i work as stone mason mainly marbles….i am very interesting in green jobs. i will like to study much about green contruction work and hopefuly i controduce this green ideal back home in my coumtry Ghana…..as an african i think it will be good idea to help people in poor areas in my country..thanks for your attention hope to read from you also…….LETS GO GREEN

  5. Najamuddin Mazari
    Balochistan,Pakistan
    January 31, 2013, 8:46 pm

    G000D :)

  6. pranab goswami
    rupnagar,guwahati,Assam
    October 2, 2012, 12:05 pm

    choice of my heart need of the hour

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  8. Sambamurthi Balachander
    India
    May 25, 2012, 8:19 pm

    Sustainable green teachers,academicians worldwide,need be the priority of the next decade in education worldwide.Colleges have a tremendous amount of talent,originality,creativity which can be tapped by their professors alone(not a cosmetic catch of green washing). Do encourage,green talent search and keep it going,on the sustainable pathways!

  9. abdul mannan
    kurnool,A.P, India
    May 25, 2012, 1:59 am

    i never die without good job..

  10. devender kumar
    faridabad, haryana, india
    May 24, 2012, 11:26 pm

    i wanna join u, i have done M.C.A., and i m NIIT scholar in information technology, presently i m working in Escorts as a software engineer, i wanna do job with national geagraphic, CTC negotiable, current CTC 14000 Rs / Month

  11. Michael Chandler
    Saxapahaw NC
    May 22, 2012, 4:34 pm

    Good article but bad choice on the photo accompanying it. the install of that siding is all wrong and wouldn’t qualify for LEED-h or National Green Building Standard points and likely even voids the manufacturers warrantee for the siding.
    No house wrap, no rain screen spacers, over-driven fasteners. Good example for how NOT to install fiber cement siding however!

  12. greencountryomes
    Pennsylvania
    May 21, 2012, 8:53 pm

    Hard Hat , check …. safety harness , check …. not installing housewrap , a drainage plane or flashing at brick wood intersection and calling it Green … priceless ! Thanks for the laugh !

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