Green construction jobs are becoming the norm in the contract and construction industry, so in order to remain competitive construction professionals need to expand their skills in the fields of green and green construction. Several companies choose to build green buildings, with seventy percent of executives and developers making their companies part of sustainability programs for tax cuts and the benefit of reduced operating costs. Financial benefits like these are among the many reasons why green buildings are built so frequently and why there is a demand for workers and contractors with sustainable construction skills and familiarity with green building. But what entrepreneurs need to know,
Operational categories of green constructions
The diverse nature of green building means that entrepreneurs, builders and designers working in industry need to understand the following subcategories of green buildings:
- Topography and planning
- Energetic efficiency
- water conservation
- Indoor air quality
- On-site construction practices
Accreditations and certifications and who sets the standards
The US Green Building Council (USGBC) is a respected advocate for green building and a nonprofit organization that has created and maintains the standards used to assess the sustainability of buildings. The USGBC standards are part of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building evaluation system and, using these standards, the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) evaluates buildings against a LEED scorecard. Buildings seeking certification earn points in categories such as energy efficiency and design and those categories listed above. If a building’s score is sufficient, it is eligible to receive LEED silver, gold or platinum certification,
At the national level, the US General Services Administration requires that all major federal renovation and construction projects meet LEED Gold standards, while private developers pursue LEED certifications to pass on their environmental accreditations. Although LEED is the standard in the United States, there are alternatives, such as the Green Building Initiative, which provides comparable green building certification. However, some green building certificates are better than others, some being more expensive and more complex, requiring contractors, designers and builders to do some research on them before applying.
Certifications for professionals
GBCI offers both construction certifications and the accreditation of professionals and contractors working in the field of green construction. LEED-accredited professionals are also eligible to work on projects that pursue official LEED certification. These entrepreneurs can already work as an architect or designer of a project. The National Center for Education and Research in Construction (NCCER) has created a special certification for construction supervisors, with the approval of the GBCI. Frontline construction managers can be certified in the LEED green building agenda in a project by the project’s Sustainable Construction Manager.
Occupations and training for Green Construction
There are several national and local organizations that provide training for the green building trade in the United States, including the following:
NCCER (National Center for Education and Research in Construction) :
- A non-profit program created to outline a standardized green building training module officially recognized as an industry standard by both the Green Building Certification Institute and the US Green Building Council.
- Workers with existing knowledge in a trade who wish to increase their CV with green building technique skills should contact their local NCCER sponsor or employment and trade centers for training opportunities.
Associated builders and contractors
- ABC has been heavily involved in the development of green building training programs for those wishing to enter the industry with a respected certification.
At this point, a background and training in ecological practices are essential for a particular occupation. But engineers and architects are the ones who need a substantial amount of training, education and certification for the skills specific to green building. These specialists should turn to groups such as ABC, NCCER, LEED for guidance on their particular specialty. However, in many cases construction workers could work differently on a green site without the need for extensive specialized training. Trade workers with skills in the installation of energy-efficient structures and appliances and water or those using new environmentally friendly techniques require additional training.