It is now common knowledge that climate change is for real and impacting our lives today with more serious and deadly impacts predicted in the next 50 years. Governments, insurers and businesses are looking for solutions to adapt to the inevitable climate related structural changes to buildings and infrastructure, rising energy costs as well as seeking to reduce their collective carbon footprints. Many of these changes are being mandated at the federal and state level. As a banker, almost all of my clients are pursuing LEED certification for their construction projects. What are you doing to help these entities meet these requirements? There is a great need for guidance in meeting these new sustainability standards. Contractors and related professionals are facing tough times in today's economy, with declining demand for housing developments, manufacturing plants being built overseas and companies delaying construction of shopping centers and office complexes. By offering green construction services, you can increase sales, beat your competition and prepare for future demand. The green building industry is growing at a rapid clip, valued to be over $35 billion dollars, by 2010. The following construction/renovation related businesses have a lot to gain over the next few years:
- General contractors - able to source and hire subs experienced with LEED requirements
- Alternative energy consultants/manufacturers - you now have the attention of the public, make sure contractors and architects know where to find you
- Energy conservation experts - consult and provide equipment and materials that conserve energy
- Financing - provide information on tax credits, grants and financing tools
- Architects - incorporate site, material and design into energy efficient buildings
- Engineers - Consult on impact of climate change to buildings and infrastructure
- Recyclers - Ability to properly collect and recycle demolition waste
- Landscapers - Help clients meet LEED landscaping requirements (green roofs, bioswales, rain gardens, rain barrels)
- Interior designers and artists - Provide LEED qualified furnishings and artwork that reduce indoor air pollution and reflect the environmentally conscious nature of the project
The green building boom will also benefit vendors of the above entities, for as their businesses grow there will be a greater demand for your services. Of course, you might need to green up your act and your inventory to help your clients walk the talk. To learn more about the sustainable construction industry, check out these sites:
- http://www.usgbc.com/ (US Green Building Council)
A good starting point for heading down this green pathway would be to register for introductory LEED courses sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Council. You would then progress to getting your various LEED certifications. Once you have this training under your hat, contact the real estate, urban planning or real estate division of your local government, university and public school district for a list of pending projects where request for proposals may have been issued. Market your services to architects and developers. If you are a sub-contractor, call on general contractors and government minority development offices in your area to promote your green services. Trust me, they are looking for you. Another way to get involved is to volunteer with one of the many green collar construction jobs programs set up around the country. These programs aim to train and hire youth and marginalized individuals for meaningful employment in the construction and landscaping industry.
Good luck, live green and get some green!