August 03, 2011
Green construction—the practice of erecting buildings and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource efficient—has grown dramatically over the past few years. As interest in protecting the environment grows, developing green buildings will require skilled workers with knowledge of new design and construction techniques.
When working on green buildings, construction managers (median annual wage in 2010 of $85,030) are responsible for ensuring that onsite processes are environmentally friendly. This could mean setting up a recycling plan for unused construction materials or protecting environmentally sensitive areas of the site.
Architects (median annual wage of $77,210) who design green buildings use different techniques to maximize energy efficiency. One popular practice is daylighting, which is the use of natural light to illuminate a building.
Carpenters (median annual wage of $43,980) trained in green techniques play an important role in reducing waste and improving building efficiency. One technique, called optimum value engineering, allows carpenters to use less lumber by increasing the amount of spacing between framing members. This technique also allows for more insulation to be added, increasing the energy efficiency of the building.
Wage data in this article are from the Occupational Employment Statistics program. For more information, see "Careers in green construction" (HTML) (PDF), by Drew Liming. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not currently publish wage data specific to the green construction industry.