Over the next 10 years, the fastest growing jobs in the U.S. are going green. The commercial building market is an especially red-hot green sector. According to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), buildings use 72% of electricity consumption, 39% of energy use, 30% of waste output and 38% of carbon dioxide emissions.

IN PICTURES: Top 10 Green Industries

But unparalleled government support, the availability of new sustainable materials and a strong demand for all things green is about to change all that. Today, the green building industry represents about 10-12% of the current commercial building market, but by 2013, estimates predict that the market will expand to approximately 20-25%. (The earth-smart money is on these environmentally friendly housing projects. Learn more in Building Green For Your House And Wallet.)

Jobs Going Green
A host of green jobs will be tied to understanding how to convert buildings from energy abuse to energy efficient. Whether your background is as a landscaper, an architect, a construction worker, a pest control specialist or other expertise, green building may offer you new opportunities to do well by doing good for our environment.

And if you love real estate and want to be on the leading edge of the green building trend, you may want to consider becoming a LEED Green Associate. (Being environmentally conscious doesn't mean you have to give up the comforts of life. Find out which jobs provide for both in 9 Green Careers With High Pay.)

The USGBC created the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system for green building as a first step towards setting measurable standards in areas such as site development, building design, water savings, material selection and more. LEED certification provides independent verification that a building meets the highest green building performance measures.

Today, the LEED rating system has been applied to nearly 14,000 projects in 50 states and 30 countries. Federal agencies, states and local governments across the country now require or encourage LEED building certification.

Becoming A LEED Green Associate
A LEED Green Associate is someone who is trained in the design and evaluation of green technology for buildings, both commercial and residential. To become a LEED Green Associate, you must pass a two hour computer-based exam, which tests your knowledge and skills on green building principals. (Energy neutral homes are becoming real possibilities, but the financial point of view might not be so optimistic. Check out Should You Invest In A Green Home?)

To apply to take the exam in the first place, you must either have some experience in a LEED project, or complete education coursework in relevant knowledge areas. This can be accomplished as self-study or by taking courses sponsored by organizations like the Green Building Certification Institute (http://www.gbci.org/). Knowledge areas tested on the exam include project requirements (such as budget or site development), project costs, occupancy requirements and much more.

After you've passed the exam, you're ready to launch your new green career. Start by visiting USGBC's Career Center online, which will direct you to openings across the country. Go to http://www.usgbc.org/ for more information.

The Bottom Line
Green building will support an estimated 7.9 million U.S. jobs and boost the economy by $554 million over the next four years alone. Become an expert as a LEED Green Associate so you too can claim your turf in the green revolution.

Get on top of this week's most important financial news in minutes with Water Cooler Finance.

Related Articles
  1. Investing News

    Keystone XL Rejected: Which Stocks Will Win, Lose?

    Are investors overestimating the Keystone XL Pipeline news? Here's a look at some of the stocks they're likely liking right now.
  2. Investing

    Will Eni’s Discovery Affect Oil Prices?

    Following a massive natural gas discovery in the Mediterranean, Egypt's energy concerns will be coming to an end, but how does this affect oil prices?
  3. Stock Analysis

    How Oil and Ethanol Combine to Make Valero Rich

    Despite a lagging oil sector, Valero continues to have good results with its ethanol and oil refinery businesses.
  4. Stock Analysis

    Does Arch Coal Have a Fighting Chance?

    Whether or not investors want to admit it, Arch Coal's future path is obvious.
  5. Stock Analysis

    In Focus: Water Scarcity

    After a discussion, sponsored by CDP, we share the importance of water disclosure as it relates to businesses operating amid increasing water scarcity.
  6. Investing Basics

    The Inner Workings of a Big Regional Utility (DUK)

    Duke Energy is one of the quietest large companies in America. Few people outside of the Southeastern U.S. know about this highly profitable utility.
  7. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    Top 2 Vanguard Energy ETFs and Mutual Funds

    Read detailed analyses of an energy exchange-traded fund (ETF) and an energy mutual fund issued by Vanguard, and learn about their characteristics and historical statistics.
  8. Personal Finance

    Looking for Cost-Effective Ways to Save Water?

    There are lots of things you can do to save water at home while reducing your ecological footprint at the same time. Here are five simple ways to do it.
  9. Stock Analysis

    Will the Stock Rally Last Past Christmas?

    The stock market can't seem to make up its mind. Will investors end up with coal for Christmas or might their wishes come true?
  10. Stock Analysis

    Kinder Morgan Stock: A Dividend Analysis

    Learn about Kinder Morgan through an analysis of its dividend policy and dividend yields, and discover how current industry trends affect its dividends.
  1. What is the relationship between research and development and innovation?

    Although it's possible to achieve innovation without research and development and it's possible to conduct research and development ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Do all oil companies received the quoted price of West Texas Intermediate for their ...

    The quoted, or spot, price of West Texas Intermediate, or WTI, crude oil is just one of several benchmark oil prices. The ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How do the costs of oil sands producers compare to traditional drillers?

    The oil sands of Canada are some of the most expensive crude oil assets in the world to produce. Each asset type, such as ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How do the average costs compare for the different types of oil drilling rigs?

    Average costs vary widely between different types of oil rigs, starting at around $20 million and ranging as high as close ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How long does it take an oil and gas producer to go from drilling to production?

    Depending on the depth of drilling required and the type of drilling method used, a standard oil well can commonly advance ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How does an oil and gas company measure and state its production?

    Measuring Oil and Gas Production Oil and gas exploration and production companies, or E&P companies, use three basic ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Take A Bath

    A slang term referring to the situation of an investor who has experienced a large loss from an investment or speculative ...
  2. Black Friday

    1. A day of stock market catastrophe. Originally, September 24, 1869, was deemed Black Friday. The crash was sparked by gold ...
  3. Turkey

    Slang for an investment that yields disappointing results or turns out worse than expected. Failed business deals, securities ...
  4. Barefoot Pilgrim

    A slang term for an unsophisticated investor who loses all of his or her wealth by trading equities in the stock market. ...
  5. Quick Ratio

    The quick ratio is an indicator of a company’s short-term liquidity. The quick ratio measures a company’s ability to meet ...
  6. Black Tuesday

    October 29, 1929, when the DJIA fell 12% - one of the largest one-day drops in stock market history. More than 16 million ...
Trading Center