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Green Jobs – Wind, Solar, Geotheormal, Renewables Add Profits
Part of being a successful building owner is worrying about your bottom line. In fact, that’s how you stay in business – by making sure that you are getting the most bang for your buck.

But in this day and age, you are undoubtedly taking into account other considerations when you build your project.

It wasn’t so long ago that people thought being profitable and environmentally friendly were not connected.
But NECA and the IBEW are helping to show building owners that the two aren’t mutually exclusive. The training IBEW electricians get is giving them a leg up on the competition – and helping to sustain our environment for generations to come.

To fully understand the severity of the situation facing America today with respect to energy, you have to read the writing on the wall. According to the EPA, in 2007, only 13.6 percent of all energy generated in the US came from renewable sources. And of that number, only 6 percent came from wind or solar power. The 86.4 percent left over comes from non-renewable sources such as coal, natural gas, oil or nuclear power.

In the not-so-distant pass, “going green” was seen as a costly undertaking that simply didn’t pay off. But that’s not the case anymore. Going green not only helps the long term value of your property, the savings can be realized in reduced monthly energy bills as well. Once a decision to go green is made, the trick is finding the people with the knowledge to do the job right the first time. That’s why the NECA-IBEW team has taken a leadership role in the green jobs revolution.

Mike Callanan, executive director, NJATC
“We’ve been teaching a number of these skills to our apprentices and journeymen for a number of years. I like to think that our training is unique because our training provides not only the opportunity to understand the theoretical components, but we have on the job training. Each apprentice is given the opportunity to spend 8,000 hours in on the job training coupled with about 1,000 hours of related instruction. I haven’t found a better model yet to train the electrical industry in.”

Mike Callanan, from the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee, says getting in front of young people today, a segment of society that has grown up with little knowledge of the building trades, is a challenge. But today’s apprentices will be tomorrows journeymen and women, responsible for revolutionizing the industry. So the NECA-IBEW team is doing its part to help recruit tomorrow’s workforce. With apprenticeship promotional materials, outreach to young adults, Helmets to Hardhats programs to recruit returning war veterans, and good, old fashioned word of mouth.

Mike Callanan, executive director, NJATC
“We have currently 44,000 apprentices in training at over 300 training centers in the United States and Canada. They are studying a curriculum that’s well suited to transitioning into all of these renewable energy fields.”

Besides training, NECA and the IBEW have also taken the lead in pushing the industry into “greener pastures.”

Mike Callanan, executive director, NJATC

“We have taken steps by developing the industry’s first solar PV installation textbook. We’re really excited about this; it’s been an area that’s been neglected by the industry. IBEW-NECA contractors are currently installing PV systems, wind power generation, and other technologies like fuel cells and biomass as we speak.”
Let’s go back to our earlier energy graph. Remember we said 6 percent of energy production came from wind or solar. But let’s take a closer look at the numbers. In 2007, wind capacity installations grew by 45 percent. Solar grew by 40 percent. These numbers mean one thing: Renewable energy installations are on the rise, and by default, jobs in the sector will only continue to grow.

Callanan said that there’s a lot that building owners can do to “green” their project, and hiring the NECA–IBEW team is the best way to start.

Mike Callanan, executive director, NJATC
“So as a building owner, certainly you want to be looking at things like building automation systems, you want to be looking at the latest energy efficiency control systems, lighting applications and these are systems that the IBEW-NECA team have been installing for many years.”

And when you consider that buildings use nearly 70 percent of the energy generated in the US, building automation systems are special because they allow owners to maximize their return on investment not only during the building phase of the job, but while the buildings are being occupied.

Mike Callanan, executive director, NJATC
“It’s about integrating systems so that they talk to each other. So that when a classroom is empty, the lights automatically turn out. When the ambient lighting provides enough sunlight lighting loads are reduced in the building because it’s a sunny day and we can take advantage of that.”

When you combine all of this with the possible $150 billion governmental program to create 5 million new green jobs in the next 10 years, it’s fair to say that this sector is going to boom. Certain states and municipalities have jumped on board and are currently offering tax rebates in incentives to building owners who install renewable sources of energy on their property. Contact your state or city to find out what they offer.