The USGBC's 2009 Green Jobs Report

This study, released at Greenbuild 2009, was conducted by the U.S. Green Building Council and Booz Allen Hamilton, and predicts that the green building industry will be responsible for the creation or support of 7.9 million jobs, contributing $554 billion to the U.S. GDP, in the next four years.

From the introduction to the report:

Buildings generate approximately 40 percent 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 play a critical role in reducing these emissions. The green building market is growing dramatically. McGraw Hill estimates that the total value of green construction was $10 billion in 2005, and that value grew to between $36 and $49 billion by 2008. By 2013, it estimates that the market could grow to as much as $96–140 billion.

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.

To better understand the domestic job potential from green buildings, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) asked Booz Allen to estimate the number of jobs associated with this market. Recent newspaper articles and studies have tried to estimate the total number of "green collar jobs" that will be created from various national energy proposals, but few studies have focused exclusively on green building employment opportunities.

This study contributes to this effort by calculating the number of jobs created by the green building construction market between 2000 and 2008. It also forecasts the number of jobs that will be created from 2009–2013 based on estimates published by McGraw Hill and our own projections of the demand for LEED certified buildings.

The term "green jobs" or "green collar jobs" is not well-defined. 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 how to install rooftop solar photovoltaic units. It is reasonable to consider both types of jobs as green jobs. However, this study does not have sufficient data to delineate between green and traditional jobs; it is only able to calculate the total number of jobs created as a result of green building investment. Therefore, this study estimates two sets of numbers in this report, which creates a range of employment values to help frame the magnitude of economic impact resulting from green buildings.

More details about the report, as well as the U.S. Green Building Council's full green jobs resource list, is online at USGBC.org.

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