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Green building to support 7.9 million American jobs

Green building is forecast to support more than 7.9 million American jobs from 2009 to 2013, according to a study released late last year by consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton.

“Local and national policymakers increasingly view green construction and renovation activities as an opportunity to spur domestic job creation because these jobs cannot be outsourced to other countries and require workers with new and traditional skills,” reports the Booz Allen study, which was commissioned by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The study found that green building generated $173 billion in U.S. Economic activity from 2000 through 2008, and forecasts that it will generate another $554 billion in GDP from 2009 through 2013.

The Booz Allen study did not delineate between new green jobs and traditional jobs supported by green building projects.

“The term ‘green jobs’ or ‘green collar jobs’ is not well-defined,” the study notes. “There are some professions that should be clearly considered green jobs, such as wind turbine manufacturers or green building designers. However, other traditional jobs such as electricians have been ‘upskilled’ to take advantage of new technologies, such as learning hot to install rooftop solar photovoltaic units.”

Booz Allen noted that in addition to stimulating the economy, green buildings will help the U.S. reduce carbon emissions.

“Buildings generate approximately 40 per cent of the United States’ carbon emissions. Under a likely carbon-constrained future, the construction of more environmentally friendly buildings and the renovation of existing buildings will plan a critical role in reducing these emissions,” the study notes.

No corresponding Canadian study was released for the same time period. No major Canadian political party has released a comprehensive plan to spur green job creation since Stéphane Dion’s ill-fated ‘Green Shift’ in 2008. And none of the candidates for leadership of either leading provincial party has presented a serious plan to spur green job creation in British Columbia.

Monte Paulsen researches sustainability for the non-profit Tyee Solutions Society.

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