by Chris de Morsella, Green Economy Post Chris is the co-editor of The Green Executive Recruiter Directory. Follow Chris on Twitter @greeneconpost

Green Building and Energy Efficiency Jobs

Overall California leads the country in terms of the number of green buildings it has constructed. For example, California has over 1,000 LEED-certified projects, more than any other state in the country. This drive to build green has now become the law in California with the enactment of its CALGREEN mandatory green building code (for commercial, and multi-unit residential and schools) that went into effect this year (2011). These new codes require that every new building constructed in California reduce water consumption by 20%, reduce energy use compared to current standards by 15%, divert 50% of construction waste from landfills and install low pollutant-emitting materials. The California Air Resources Board estimates that the mandatory provisions will reduce greenhouse gas emissions (CO2 equivalent) by 3 million metric tons equivalent in 2020.

Six cities in the state each had more than a million square feet of LEED certified construction: Sacramento with 4,298,988, Los Angeles at 1,852,579, San Diego at 1,689,109, San Francisco at 1,232,718, San Jose with 1,099,827, and Irvine with 1,013,102.

This growing body of evidence indicates that investments in energy efficiency hold tremendous job creation potential. California ranked #1 in the nation for the top states in the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy 2010 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. The state should expect to see a continuation of energy efficiency job growth over the next few years.

California has been a leading state for its utility-sector customer energy efficiency programs that date back to the 1970s and that have grown over three decades. Its programs and related energy efficiency policies have had a significant impact on per capita electricity use, which has remained essentially constant over the past 30 years. For the 2006-2008 efficiency program cycle, California’s investor-owned utilities (IOUs) budgeted $2 billion for three years of efficiency programs and reported spending $316 million in 2006, $670 million in 2007, and $932 million in 2008.

In 2009 there were approximately 20,000 energy efficiency jobs and an additional 8,000 other green building jobs in the state.

Recycling Reuse and Waste Reduction Jobs

Recycling creates more jobs than landfilling by adding value and employing people at every step of the process. In 2009 there were approximately 27,000 jobs in recycling and waste management in the state. The California Integrated Waste Management Board estimates that the state’s 50% recycling goal will add $2 billion to California’s economy and create over 45,000 new jobs by the year 2000, over 20,000 of which are slated to be in the manufacturing sector.

Water and Wastewater Management Jobs

In 2009 there were approximately 12,000 jobs in water and wastewater management in California with growing clusters emerging in the San Diego, Central Coast, Sierra and the North Coast regions.

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