Architect – Any new building in Washington D.C. must be LEED certified. And D.C. isn’t the only city that has taken a stance. “With D.C. starting it, it’s going to catch on all across the nation,” says O’Neal. If you are an architect, this means you will need to be LEED certified before you can design any new construction projects. LEED certification can take a few weeks and you might need to get some projects under your belt before you are fully certified. For education and training resources about LEED certification, visit the U.S. Green Building Council and/or attend Green Build USA International Conference and Expo in Chicago, Nov. 16-20, 2010.
Electricians – Electricians are important because more people are retrofitting buildings with energy-efficient lighting. “You can save up to 60% on your energy bill just by converting your lighting,” says O’Neal. “[Changing your lighting] is one of the easiest and most cost-effective things to do.” The most energy efficient lighting is LED, and in order to add those to a building, you have to redo light fixtures or install adapters. In addition, it takes an electrician to install solar panels to the grid system. If solar isn’t your forte yet, visit Solar Energy International for online solar courses. Also contact your local community college for educational opportunities in this area.
Roofers – Green roof projects are heavily in demand, says O’Neal. Roofers can provide landscaping with vegetation to improve air and water quality, and to reduce the urban heat island effect, which contributes to air pollution. Roofers can also form joint partnerships with electricians to install solar panels, or with plumbers to provide solar thermal heating for water heaters. Because roofers need to conduct tests to make sure a structure can hold the weight of a green roof, certification with Green Roof and Healthy Cities is important. Visit their site for more information about boot camps for Green Roof Professional Accreditation or attend Cities Alive: The Green Roof and Wall Conference in Vancouver, Canada, Nov. 30-Dec. 3, 2010.