The Washington DC metropolitan area has been a leader in the green economy since 2006. At that time, the area had the nation’s
second largest concentration of green jobs when compared to other metropolitan areas, and the regional green economy was expected to continue to grow by more than 8% annually, outpacing economy-wide average job growth.
The Green Data for a Growing Green Economy Report prepared for the United States Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration concludes that as of 2010 20,000 green jobs existed in Washington DC proper and and 132,000 in the DC metro area. By 2012 this number is expected to grow to 21,400 green jobs in the city itself and 150,400 in the Washington DC metro area. The DC economy and its green sectors are dominated by public and not-for-profit organizations and technical and professional services.
DC’s green employment is highly concentrated in a few industries. More than 73 percent of green employment in DC is represented by just three industries: Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services; Religious, Grantmaking, Civic, and Similar Organizations; and Ambulatory Health Care Services.
The greater Washington metro area ranked in sixth place for cleantech job activity in 2010 according to the Clean Edge, Inc, survey. According to a study conducted by green job search engine GreenJobSpider.com in 2010, Washington DC is the second highest location hiring for green jobs in the country.
The Washington DC Metropolitan Area includes District of Columbia; Calvert, Charles, Frederick, Montgomery, and Prince George counties in Maryland; and Arlington, Clarke, Fairfax, Fauquier, Frederick, Loudoun, Prince William, Spotsylvania, Stafford and Warren counties in Virginia; and Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, Manassas, and Manassas Park Cities in Virginia.
The Pew Center of The States Clean Economy Report reported that in the decade between 1998- 2007 green jobs grew by 18.8%, which compares with a 7.1% decrease in the overall employment for the District over the same decade. Clearly the green economy has been the most important engine of growth in the region.
Green Building and Energy Efficiency Jobs in Washington DC
The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (which covers the greater Washington metro area) green building policy is encapsulated in three policy frameworks: All new commercial and public buildings to be LEED® Silver or equivalent by 2020. This will help the region achieve its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions — and hence also energy usage — to 20% below 2005 levels by 2020 and to 80% below 2005 levels by 2050.
Green building is becoming a major construction trend in the greater Washington metro region. In fact, since 2007, the number of LEED certified green buildings constructed in the region has grown substantially. Combining this trend with government incentives, policy, and regulations requiring LEED certification, green building practices are quickly becoming common design and construction practices in our region. This is borne out by examining the acceleration of LEED registered building projects that further suggests more LEED certified green buildings are in the pipeline.
Between 2003 and 2009, there were 72 LEED-certified projects in Washington DC proper and there were many additional LEED certified projects within the greater Washington metro area over this same time period in the adjoining areas of Virginia and Maryland. The greater Washington DC metro area which is among the most active areas for green building in the country. Through 2009, 171 projects totaling 22.9 million square feet achieved LEED certification in the National Capital Region, of which the District of Columbia is the heart. The District of Columbia has the largest amount of LEED certified square footage in the region. LEED certified buildings have also grown increasingly popular in suburban Mixed-Use Activity Centers. In fact in the District alone, 12.5 million square feet of LEED certified projects were constructed during the period covered by this report.
Green Government Jobs in Washington DC
Clearly as the nation’s capital green government jobs are concentrated in the Washington metro area. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), US Geological Survey, Department of Labor (DOL), Department of Defense (DOD), and a host of other more specialized departments and government offices need professional level talent in areas of green government. In addition to government jobs there are many positions in such areas as public relations and legal in the many lobbying firms involved in promoting one or another of the green economy sectors.
In this sense Washington DC is unique and government policy making, enforcement, oversight etc. as well as lobbying is all highly concentrated in the DC metro area. In addition to the many bureaucratic, legal, and other professional positions that cluster here, the nation’s capital is also naturally an important area for careers in sustainability.