Green Technology and the Economy

Jean Danielson

Jean Danielson

Report on Green Jobs and the Economy

Our Monday postings include information on the integration of green technology and building science.  The flavor of today’s posting is marinated with green jobs, the economy and how these jobs are developed for the short and long-term.

In the middle of July, the Brookings Institute issued a report on green jobs assessment. Talking about green jobs – whether in construction, agriculture, healthcare industry or forestry – is consistently difficult to define. Given one’s perspective, green jobs could have anything to do with sustainability (including makers of Smart Cars to people who paper-push, then recycle) to task-based jobs that create or manage (manufacturers of solar panels to websites that house online, real-time meetings that dramatically lessen the use of oil and gas for travel).

Additional Questions to Ask

In April, Chaden Halfhill and I went to the Northern Plains and Rocky Mountain Consortium Green Jobs Conference in downtown Des Moines. This was a two-day conference in which labor market specialists, economists and a host of others answered questions that included:

  • “What are the new and emerging technologies in green energy?”
  • “How many people work in green jobs?”
  • “Are green skills different from non-green skills?”
  • “What does green mean to economic development?

As there was much to cover, the speakers addressed these topics individually in their totality or through the lens of a profession or region. The methodologies were critical in discussing how the data was obtained, but what was of bottom-line importance included the following: 1) Does the government or the private sector initiate greater, more sustained growth? 2) Is the citizenry provided with enough information about the green technology growth sectors so it knows how to make employment and resources decisions? 3) How can training in green jobs be facilitated more quickly for displaced workers?

The answers were similar to the conclusions in the Brookings Institute report.

One of the important pillars identified is for both private and government sectors to work in tandem to stimulate the economy, create jobs and encourage innovation. The Green & Main Pilot Project in Sherman Hill is a prime example of this collaboration, leading to jobs not only created but maintained.  The positive impact of this demonstration building on multiple communities, and the combining of building science and green technologies, is invaluable. It provides tangible examples for home owners, building professionals and small-town community revitalists on forward-looking possibilities.

When you have a chance, check out the report.


– Jean Danielson is director of operations for Indigo Dawn. She is just beginning to read a 900-page novel, The Instructions, and hopes to have it read before the Mayan calendar ends.

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