Many engineering analysts and professionals are looking at green engineering as a way to make the industry more efficient and to add jobs. Green engineering runs the gamut, from retrofitting buildings and urban planning to smaller tasks like installing HET toilets for water conservation. With that said, let’s take a look at the green engineering careers expected to see the most lift in the coming years:
Civil engineering encompasses a wide range of construction and design, including bridges, dams, roads, urban or municipal engineering, geotechnical engineering and more. Civil engineers bring an overview of environmental issues to the table that will be vital to future city planning and renovating. In fact, civil engineering will see a 25% green job increase in the next decade. Wielding a knowledge of sustainable materials and environmental factors, civil engineers will continue to be in high demand as the years go on, finding contract work among private firms as well as government agencies.
Green trade jobs are expected to be a major stimulus for the economy in the coming years, as most economic analysts assume that retrofitting city buildings for energy efficiency will require vast coordination among many trade professions. Traditional trade employees like carpenters, HVAC/boilermakers, electricians, plumbers, and masons will soon be seeing a rise in green jobs. By 2014, 25% of trade jobs are expected to be green jobs, meaning workers in these industries who upgrade their skills now will be in a good position to adjust to the changing job market. Indeed, many of the trade jobs listed above could yield higher salaries to those employees who are certified in ecological and energy specialization.
Over the next decade, environmental engineering is expected to see a 30% job increase due to wind and solar occupations. Environmental engineers will be needed to design waste treatment facilities, models for predicting human impact, alternative energy farms, and regulatory consulting. Additionally, public infrastructure needs to be renovated and green engineers will be key in those projects.
While it’s not a traditional engineering job, energy audits will be increasingly important as building owners try to adhere to regulatory mandates handed down by the EPA. Energy auditors will be responsible for conducting assessments such as the blower door test, thermographic scans, and the PFT air infiltration measurement test. Auditors will help regulatory agencies ensure companies are using energy efficiently, not wastefully. Often these auditors could find themselves working closely with trade workers as well as civil engineers in order to create comprehensive urban game plans for energy efficiency.
The next decade will see a critical mass of industries adopting environmentally friendly, ‘green’ business models. The engineering industry will be no different. The jobs listed above will be in much higher demand, and engineering majors will have new opportunities for career paths and certifications.
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