Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Green Jobs Can Boost Employment, But Green Building Consultant Highlights Challenges

One of the nation's leading authorities on green building predicted today that an accelerated move to sustainable economic development will create millions of new jobs in the "green" economy. What's more, those green jobs will continue to proliferate, but only if federal and state government policy continues to provide the support and incentives required to make the transition to sustainability.

Jerry Yudelson, principal of the green building consulting firm Yudelson Associates in Tucson, Arizona, made his predictions in reply to the challenge posed by those who are grappling with the prevailing economic downturn and asking, in effect, "Green jobs? Where's the beef?" He provided his answers as part of a series of short video commentaries on green building trends and sustainable development practices distributed to the public via YouTube.

"The new green jobs will come from three areas," said Yudelson. "The first area is green buildings, both new and existing, where the growth is already tremendous - about 80% in 2008. The second area is renewable energy development, particularly wind and solar. And, the third area is efficiency upgrades for older buildings."

These are the same drivers of future employment that President Obama is promoting in his proposed budget and policy projections, says Yudelson, the author of eight books on the subject of sustainability and green building including the recently-published "Green Building Through Integrated Design." "Assuming the President and the Congress keep the momentum going, investments in green building, renewable energy and energy efficiency literally could provide millions of sustainable new jobs over the next four years."

According to green building consultant Yudelson, many of these new jobs in the building and construction industries will be created by the need to retrofit the hundreds of thousands of structures that were built for an era of cheap energy, without regard to environmental consequences. "Now," says Yudelson, "we have to go back and make design and operational changes that are consistent with our new knowledge of the financial costs and environmental consequences of building without sustainability in mind."

This new green building consciousness is crucial for the success of this transition, observes Yudelson, who learned the hard way in the late seventies and early eighties when he was director of the California solar energy program designed to establish a permanent solar industry in the state. "We had a good start," he recalls, "but in 1985 the federal and state governments took the props away simultaneously, and the industry collapsed overnight." For Yudelson, this is a valuable lesson to remember today.

What, he asks, do we have to do to make the growth in green jobs permanent? His list of requirements includes making sure building codes accurately reflect the current realities of global warming and the cost of carbon emissions, establishing governmental economic incentives that will not go away after a few years. Finally, Yudelson says that we need to create a lasting infrastructure connecting building owners, facility managers and government agencies to ensure that green practices will guide future construction and operations.

"That," says Yudelson, "will ensure the creation of lasting jobs that go hand-in-hand with the need to go green and build sustainably."

To view the brief video of highlights of Jerry Yudelson's perspective on green jobs, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9fNJTETWBE.

To receive an email notification when Yudelson's next green building video is posted, YouTube members may subscribe to the new GreenBuildConsult channel by clicking "Subscribe" on this web page: http://www.youtube.com/user/jyudelson.

About Yudelson Associates

Yudelson Associates is a leading international firm in sustainability planning and green building consulting. The founder, Jerry Yudelson, is widely acknowledged as one of the nation's leading experts on green building and green development. He is the author of eight green building books and serves as Research Scholar for Real Estate Sustainability for the International Council of Shopping Centers, a 70,000-member international trade organization. He is a frequent green building speaker at industry and professional conferences and chaired the industry's largest annual show, Greenbuild, from 2004 through 2009.

For more information on Yudelson Associates please visit: http://www.greenbuildconsult.com.

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