Green Construction Creates More Than a Sustainable Future – It Creates Jobs! (guest post)

usf imageToday, a guest post on green design by the folks at University Alliance, in partnership with the University of San Francisco’s higher education program. They offer an online master certificate in supply chain management, and sustainable supply chain management.

The unemployment rate in the United States is not going to magically decrease. So what can the government and investors do to help create jobs for Americans? Building more energy efficient infrastructures comes with many benefits, including an influx of jobs, energy cost savings, and a more sustainable future. Most people believe in sustaining the environment, but many feel concerned that green building construction is too expensive. Let’s look at some specific facts to analyze green solutions in a realistic way: where has “going green” worked, why has it worked, how does it actually create jobs and who is going green in American right now?

While Americans continue to wrangle over the financial efficacy of green solutions, green power has taken off in Taiwan, Korea and Hong Kong.  LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a rating system for the design of green buildings. Taipei 101, the second largest building in the world which is located in Taiwan gained the LEED designation. South Korea plans to grant extensive economic stimulus to green ventures while China will construct 35 million meters of green buildings in Beijing. In answer to both the growing global pressure and the American green movement, President Obama has created a Better Buildings Initiative committed to the idea that green buildings preserve energy and create jobs.

Countries that succeed in creating green buildings have chosen to make the investment. While investing in efficient energy use promotes both job growth and environmental stability, investment options need to be clearer. Solar heating, harvesting of rainwater and natural lighting are just a few practical ideas which can create great savings for each of us.

Change is naturally difficult in a poor economy. Unemployment has doggedly stuck to the 9 percent level. That forces the question: will green buildings truly create jobs or not? Job growth partly depends on the sectors of the economy that create jobs at a medium to high percentage rate.  For instance, the energy sector and the manufacturing sector create jobs at a much lower rate than do the construction sector and the government sector. This means that when we invest in the construction of green buildings or in green renovation, we are putting our resources into a sector which creates a high level of jobs on average. Green building projects do promote reliable job growth.

Many green building initiatives are on the rise in America.  Siemens has announced four hundred positions in green technology across thirty-nine states. In Baltimore, one of the largest roof-mounted solar installations will soon be built.  Projects like these create work, foster innovative thinking and control energy costs for both companies and the government. But above all, they give other companies a viable path to follow. Additionally, the president’s Better Building Initiative will give a tax credit of as much as $1.80 per square foot for buildings that fully utilize green solutions.

So much depends on how we perceive green energy. Is this a standard we want for all buildings or is it a standard that only the wealthiest can achieve? Though U.S. companies are leading the way in green technology including smart lighting, energy management, and efficient heating, we have yet to realize our complete potential in the construction of green buildings. At this time, understanding the jobs that can truly be created through green power could create both amazing and sustained change.

What do you think? Do you believe that green buildings and green renovation can help kick start the U.S. economy?  Share your thoughts in the comments section, below.

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