Friday, September 18, 2009

Eco Consulting Field Exploding, Says Prominent Environmental Education Firm

The Eco Consulting field is exploding, and the next generation of Eco Consultants are seeking new avenues for becoming quickly trained in this green profession, according to the San Diego-based Eco Institution, a leading environmental education firm.

Estimates place the number of Eco Consultants in the United States currently at about 3,000-quite a steep number for a profession that`s less than three years old. But this total should double within the next 12 months, according to Kevin Hopkins, a former White House economist and author of the Eco Institution`s introductory Eco Consultant Certification Course.

"Homeowners and businesses in the United States and other developed countries have long been supportive of environmental initiatives, but have been frustrated by a lack of both knowledge and opportunities for living and operating in a more environmentally responsible fashion," says Mr. Hopkins. "But thanks to the emerging Eco Consultant profession, local residents and business owners can begin to really make a difference-right in their own neighborhoods and communities."

Saving Green by Living Green

That difference that they can make means more than just doing a "good deed" for the planet. It also can translate into saving money. Indeed, the Eco Institution emphasizes that, in the difficult economy that has battered the United States and other developed countries in recent years, consumers and small businesses are more interested than ever before in saving money wherever they can-and that planetary consciousness needs to follow suit.

"It`s easy for someone who is passionate about protecting the environment to say that cost doesn`t matter," says Mr. Hopkins. "And in the larger sense, maybe it doesn`t. But environmental protection and planetary preservation depend on people`s actually taking action. And like it or not, most people today-no matter how committed to the environment they might be-simply don`t have the thousands of extra dollars required to purchase a new hybrid car or to line their rooftops with pricey solar panels."

With that fact in mind, the Eco Institution focuses its training efforts on helping would-be Eco Consultants to demonstrate to their clients how "living green" and "saving green" go together. By undertaking simple, relatively inexpensive steps-from wiser usage of lighting, heating, cooling, and water to improved insulation and replacement of old appliances-some families can save up to $2,000 or more each year through the adoption of green-living practices, and many businesses can save much more. In addition, U.S. Federal tax credits for energy-efficient structural additions can save taxpayers up to an additional $1,500 in the coming tax year.

An Online Eco Consultant Training Course

Local consumers and business owners are increasingly turning to Eco Consultants for answers and recommendations in these and other green-living arenas-which is one reason why the Eco Consultant profession is expanding so fast. The profession is also among the most diverse of all of the emerging "green jobs" fields. Today, Eco Consultants range from architects and engineers to real estate agents and home inspectors, and also include a fair number of other business professionals, homemakers, and even college students. While their backgrounds may differ, however, the one commonality is that each Eco Consultant will have taken at least one course of study specific to Eco Consulting. The Eco Consultant Certification Course offered by the Eco Institution is one of a growing number of options for securing the needed training.

With a nod to busy professionals, the Eco Institution`s certification process has been designed for maximum flexibility and adaptability to the needs of individual Eco Consultant trainees. Employing the latest in web-based instructional technology, the Eco Consultant Certification Course is available online, and can be studied at the student`s own pace and on his or her own schedule. The 12-unit introductory course covers such substantive topics as energy conservation, water conservation, green transportation, and recycling, as well as such practical subjects as auditing a home or business, operating and marketing an Eco Consulting practice, and becoming a community environmental advocate. More advanced courses will cover environmental, energy-conservation, and engineering topics in even greater depth, and will help to prepare students to secure their globally recognized LEED certification.

Each of the introductory course`s 12 units also includes a detailed, easy-to-read text-based lesson, and is accompanied by a series of thought-provoking exercises as well as phone- and email-based access to a professional Eco Consulting Coach who will guide students through both the substantive and practical aspects of setting up and building their Eco Consulting practice. An optional but highly prized feature of the Eco Institution`s offerings is an information-rich "Startup Kit," which includes
dozens of professionally designed client handouts, worksheets, auditing guides, and marketing and promotional tools-most of which can be private-labeled with the Eco Consultant`s name and contact information. The Startup Kit also includes placards and posters that Eco Consultants can display at homes or businesses that they have audited, which document that these structures have been "green-certified."

Signing up for the Eco Consultant Certification Course couldn`t be easier. Interested individuals should visit the Eco Institution web site at

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