Once a green structure is designed and built, specialty trade technicians step in to further reduce the environmental impact of the building. HVAC technicians, electricians and solar photovoltaic (PV) installers are all examples of skilled trades professionals who may be needed during the green construction process.1
If you’re interested in a career in environmental sustainability, you may want to consider one of these green jobs.
What are these green jobs? Here’s a closer look.
What Is a Green Job?
Green jobs can be defined in different ways. Sometimes referred to as a green collar job, such a position may include tasks aimed at energy conservation, pollution reduction, recycling or alternative energy development.2
What Are Examples of Green Jobs in the Skilled Trades?
Where are green jobs and what industries do they fall in? Green jobs may fall into different groups:
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- Construction management
- Green construction
Green building has grown substantially and there are various career opportunities within the skilled trades in this industry.1,2
Here is a look at 3 careers that could be part of the green construction industry.
1. HVAC Technician
An HVAC technician may be responsible for the installation, repair or service of air conditioning and heating systems in either residential or commercial settings.3
Technicians in the HVAC industry use:
- Their mechanical training and tools
- Knowledge of building and construction
- Technology skills
- Understanding of equipment to perform work in the field
From testing electrical components to repairing systems to boosting efficiency, an HVAC technician’s job may involve multiple tasks.3
HVAC technicians may work in two specific green sectors: energy efficiency and/or green construction. They may tackle a multitude of tasks that can be valuable to the green economy:4
- Installing wireless or programmable thermostats to help reduce energy used while cooling or heating the structure.
- Installing radiator controls for HVAC zoning.
- Installing or repairing heat pumps or other ground/air source systems to reduce the need for carbon-based energy.
- Repairing and maintaining HVAC systems to enhance efficiency levels with tasks like cleaning ventilation systems and changing filters.4
Electricians are responsible for the installation, repair and maintenance of electrical systems, including wiring, fixtures and equipment.5
These skilled trades professionals follow local codes and guidelines to ensure their electrical work meets the set-forth standards. Using tools and equipment, as well as knowledge of building and construction and mechanics and design skills, electricians can plan, connect, inspect and test electrical systems.5
Electricians may handle an array of green wiring jobs:1,6
- Recommending energy efficient products to clients like power strips with smart capabilities.
- Installing energy efficient equipment, such as motion sensors that automatically turn the lights off.
- Connecting solar panels to the energy system of a structure to reduce energy consumption.1
3. Solar Photovoltaic Installer
Solar photovoltaic installers may also be referred to as solar panel installers or solar technicians. They are typically tasked with the assembly, installation and maintenance of PV systems on rooftops or on other types of structures. These professionals may utilize their knowledge of solar systems to assess an installation site and schematic diagrams to assemble solar modules and secure them in place.7
Solar installers work in the renewable energy generation sector, which naturally can mean they have a green job. The green job duties of a solar PV installer may include the following:8
- Activating PV systems and verifying the functionality and performance of the system.
- Assembling solar panels, modules and support structures as needed.
- Determining which PV system are most suitable for a client’s energy needs and the site’s conditions.
- Installing solar collectors, pumps, concentrators and fans.
- Adjusting and programming PV inverters and system controllers.
- Measuring the performance of a PV system for efficient operation.8
The Skilled Trades and Our Green Future
With much more focus on environmental protection and creating green, sustainable buildings, the skilled trades may play a valuable role in the green jobs revolution.1
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