What about this apartment building is so eco-friendly? A visit to the website listed shows us: the building has acquired a LEED-gold standard, it has EnergyStar appliances, FSC certified flooring, and locally manufactured cabinets.
As we’ve seen, while the issues of green and sustainability can certainly be defined, it is a relatively new arena, and one that has been seen to have marketing and quality implications. As such, there have been a number of standards established to show whether a product or service is green or not. This is mostly a good thing.For instance, the term “natural” which you’ll see on any number of grocery items, is unregulated and does not mean anything definite. However, the term organic is regulated by the USDA, and so a label bearing the term organic has been certified by a third party to meet certain standards. There are similar standards for products, buildings, and even people. We’ll explore a few of the main ones here, and have links to more sources in the resources section of the course.
Buildings, commercial, industrial, and residential, are one of the primary ways that we use energy and other resources. The building industry has been one of the first to embrace green concepts, as is very evident in the proliferation of standards. Here we have green buildings standards – some of which apply to buildings, some which apply to the people designing, building, and operating them, and some which apply to both. Take a minute and look at these standards. Are any of them familiar to you?
While there are some entirely new types of jobs out there under the green economy – for instance, one of the big ones is the energy auditor – many so-called “green” jobs are simply updates of existing positions. Similar to how software training – training in microsoft office or other computer technologies – would help you to do an existing job better, many green training courses are oriented at allowing people to update their existing job or service.
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and is run by the US Green Building Council, sometimes referred to as the USGBC. Buildings undergo the LEED certification process, which awards points based on several categories of green building design, including sustainable sites, energy, waste and water management. A building is then rated LEED certified, or silver, gold, or platinum, based on how many points it gets over the minimum amount.A point for terminology here that you should be very aware of, and that the USGBC is very particular about, is that buildings get LEED CERTIFIED and people become LEED ACCREDITED.
Like LEED, BPI has a beginning course, which is called the Building Analyst. A building analyst knows how to inspect a home and determine its areas of potential energy efficiency improvements, as well as performing diagnostic tests for safety.There are four specialties in the residential homes tier of certifications: Envelope (formerly referred to as "Shell“), Mfr'd housing, Heating, and AC/HP. The specialties are geared towards the type of energy improvements that the certified contractor might be performing. For instance, Insulation, airsealing, and window contractors would require Envelope certification. HVAC contractors would go for Heating and AC/HP. BPI also certifies individuals in multi-family residential specialties, and in some more field-focused certifications, like the residential building envelope whole house air leakage control installer.
RESNET, which stands for residential energy services network, certifies both professionals and homes. The name of the system for rating homes is HERS which stands for Home Energy Rating System. RESNET professionals are called HERS raters. HERS Ratings were developed for rating new homes – including doing energy models of new homes from the point of construction documents, or from diagnostic tests on existing and newly-built homes. Some differences between RESNET and BPI trainings are that in RESNET you learn energy modeling using software like REMRATE, whereas in BPI you learn to test the combustion appliance zone.
Let’s take a moment to understand the Home Energy Rating System.The HERS Rater evaluates the relative energy usage of a house, and then assigns the house a score on the HERS Index. The HERS Index sets the rating of what they call a “standard new home” at 100. Homes more efficient than the standard home score lower than 100, and those less efficient are over 100. Other standards use this index for scoring homes as well – on the screen you can see that energy star homes score an 85 or lower, and builder’s challenge homes score a 70 or lower.
Another green standards group is NABCEP, which stands for North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners. A person can become NABCEP certified in the installation, design, and sales of solar and wind systems. There is an entry level exam for NABCEP, and then a longer and more intensive exam to become a full Installer. This is another quickly growing field, with lots of solar incentives in states like NJ and California driving a lot of new solar installations.
The final green professional standard we’ll look at is IGSHPA, which is another hard to pronounce acronym, which stands for the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association. IGSHPA certifies ground source heat pump installers and drillers.
This is a rough outline of some existing jobs, on the left hand side, and then in red the training program offered that would prepare someone in the existing industry for a new or leveraged green job, which are listed in green on the right. Of course people outside of the careers listed in the yellow area can enter these emerging careers as well.
Of course if you’re at a stage in life where you’re able to spend a few years studying, there are another set of professions and skills you may want to pursue in the green arena. These are just a few of the fields with green jobs – really, almost every industry has some green jobs – even if it’s being sustainability director.
Also, even if you are not going to devote your entire work-day to the pursuit of green, it is possible to green practically any job (and of course the other aspects of your life.) We hope this course will give you some background on why it’s important to do so.
Green 101 - Standards for Green
Greening your life – with a focus on your career<br />Green Labels<br />
Green Jobs<br />Many “green” jobs are existing jobs, updated for the new economy<br />Construction-related jobs<br />Manufacturing-related jobs<br />Auto-worker<br />Utility<br />Many of the skills required for these jobs are also standardized using accreditations<br />
LEED Accreditation<br />Legacy LEED AP<br />“LEED Green Associate” requirements:<br />Experience on one LEED-registered project<br />OR work in field of sustainability (or previous employment)<br />OR proof of completion of green building education, like an exam prep course<br />AND pass 2-hour LEED GA exam<br />Must complete 15 hrs. of CE every two years<br />
Building Performance Institute<br />8<br />A national resource for building science technology that sets standards for assessing and improving home energy<br />Est 1993 first Cert in 1996<br />Uses the house-as-a-system approach to assessing a home<br />Is the required certification for many Home Performance with Energy Star Programs HPwES<br />
RESNET Standards<br />Recognized for<br />Accreditation of rating providers, rater training providers, and rating software tools<br />Verification of energy savings for energy efficient mortgages (EEMs)<br />Verification of a home's energy performance for EPA's ENERGY STAR Homes Program and the Department of Energy’s Building America Program<br />Performance option for energy code compliance in 16 states<br />Verification of energy performance in state utility benefit program funded residential energy efficiency programs in 9 states<br />
HERS Index<br />The HERS Reference Home sets the standard at 100. <br />Homes that are more efficient than the standard will score lower on the scale. For each percentage point that the home in question is more efficient than the reference home, the home is rated 1 point lower on the scale.<br />Energy Star homes score an 85 or lower (80 or lower in Northern climate zones)<br />Builder’s Challenge homes score a 70 or lower<br />
NABCEP<br />North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners<br />Install, design and sell solar photovoltaic systems, solar thermal, and small wind<br />Images and Text from Nabcep.org<br />
IGSHPA<br />International Ground Source Heat Pump Association<br />Certify ground source heat pump installers and drillers<br />Images from Igshpa.okstate.edu<br />
For Career Starters or Changers<br />If you’re entering a 2 or 4 year program, there are a number of green careers in the fields of:<br />Agriculture<br />Biotech<br />Construction<br />Energy<br />Natural resources management<br />Advocacy<br />Transportation<br />
Green Your Job<br />Realtor<br />Janitor<br />Teacher<br />Hotelier<br />Dog walker<br />Lawyer, accountant, small business owner… any job can be greened.<br />