As sustainability increasingly becomes a key business consideration, the green building and clean energy sectors are having a significant impact on the U.S. economy and labor market. By 2022, the green building industry is expected to account for more than 30% of all jobs in the U.S. construction sector.
Over 40 projects were recently announced that are expected to create more than 10,000 clean energy and transportation jobs in the U.S. This indicates the growth of sustainable building projects shows no signs of a slowdown.
According to a report released by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and prepared by Booz Allen Hamilton, green building growth opportunities are predicted to greatly outpace general construction in the coming years. This growth is being fueled by continued investment in green technologies, manageable inflation rates, increased government infrastructure spending, declines in long-term interest rates and a steady market signal for green construction and resale value.
Sustainable construction will account for more than 3.3 million U.S. jobs and generate $190.3 billion in labor earnings by 2018 according to the 2015 Green Building Economic Impact Study. The industry’s direct contribution to U.S. GDP is expected to reach $303.5 billion from 2015-18.
Real Estate Opportunities in Sustainable Building
Not only is there a large segment for growth in green building, but there is also the opportunity to add sustainable elements to existing buildings, providing the property’s history and records supports this. The opportunity to retrofit thousands of existing buildings with new standards would reduce emissions and environmental footprint while being good business with strong financial returns.
The study notes that Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is largely responsible for the growth of the green construction sector, making up nearly 37.5 percent of green construction jobs in 2014. Additionally, LEED was responsible for $20.7 billion in direct GDP contribution to the U.S. economy in that same year. From 2015-18, LEED construction spending is forecast to show 12 percent year-over-year growth to more than $78 billion.
Green building is playing a massive role in the U.S. economy as a whole. More than 2.3 million U.S. workers are taking home $134 billion annually due to green building programs like LEED. Demand for green building will only continue to grow as individuals, businesses and institutions continue to prioritize sustainable approaches to the design, construction and operations of our built environment.
The Growth of Clean Energy
Clean energy projects are also continuing to gain traction in the U.S. The latest jobs report released by Environmental Entrepreneurs, a nonprofit business group, points to 40 projects announced in the second quarter of 2015 that will create more 10,000 clean energy and transportation jobs.
Solar projects are also creating a positive economic impact, with nearly 6,500 jobs expected as a result of 21 solar power generation or solar manufacturing projects. Solar is offering a lot of opportunities as there is an increase in public demand, with a high concentration of projects located in Texas, Nevada and California.
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