This guest post is part of TNGG’s Career Week.
Over the course of your life, you will spend 90% of your time in a building.
That is, if rising sea levels, catastrophic weather events or wars over oil don’t intervene. The buildings – and other infrastructure – that are being designed today will last through your lifetime.
But, only 5% of Americans are aware that buildings are the number one source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
For new buildings and projects to be truly sustainable and for us to cultivate a culture of energy efficiency, we need people with the skills to understand how a building should be constructed or renovated.
The process of constructing and operating a building, both residential and commercial, is being viewed from another prospective (finally!). For the first time in a long time, people are considering how they live and work and how it affects our planet.
And we need more of them.
Green building needs new ideas:
It is out of the box thinking. It opens the possibilities for inventive thought. Today, not only has the way we work changed, but the way we communicate, learn, play, listen, advocate, connect, buy, sell, evolve and start revolutions. The green economy hiring managers get it. We want it. You have it. This new, “anything goes” environment is perfect for a generation just starting out in the work force.
We have a completely different way of living, which we could never have imaged 35 years ago. And we have this opportunity to change the way we live for the better, and also make a difference in our consumption of natural resources.
Green building needs digital natives:
We’re not strangers to the InterWebs, but the “Face Pages” are a hobby, a way to show off a new baby/house/car/arm candy, not a way of life. We control our privacy settings religiously and only “friend” people we actually know!
Carrying a message further and wider to those who will make a difference for tomorrow takes a deeper understanding of how to build a community, a willingness to reach out to strangers and major cojones to let go of the need to control the conversation. For the most part, the corporate world just doesn’t have the stomach for such bold strokes. But we’re looking for people who do!
There are a plethora of jobs available:
If you were to Google “green jobs,” you’d get over 500 million results.
At the top of the list are industries focused on renewable energy, environmental services, and clean tech. But the reality is that every job has (or will have) some relationship to sustainability.
Getting into any other new industry isn’t always as fun as this one is, either. The green professional environment is full of sharp, energetic and enthusiastic people who are excited to be on the cutting edge of something new. They’re learning innovative, practical ways to build a new world.
The auto industry, as an example, has caught Hybrid Fever, and has the opportunity to reinvent itself and sustain itself. Recently, the Wall Street Journal wrote about the installation of thousands of electric car charging stations, a development that makes it plain that our lives are never going to be the same once the electric car takes off.
This is a point in history when we are on the forefront of a new world, with tremendous opportunity. But, we need you to help us get it right. And that starts with spreading the word and letting you know what’s out there.
[Editor's Note: This post was written by the mothers of two TNGG Editors who work in Green building. We love our mamas!
Catherine Palmer is a LEED Accredited Professional and Senior Industry Marketing Manager for Architecture, Engineering and Construction solutions at Autodesk. This is her third contribution to the next greatest generation – the first two are named Ryan and Jennifer.
Marika Erdely is a LEED AP with an MBA and has worked in various industries, always in finance-related positions. She currently works as a CFO for New Millennium Homes and runs her own LEED/Sustainable Consulting firm, www.greeneconome.com. Marika is also the proud mom of two, terrific college-age daughters and one cute second-grade step-son.]