The Green New Deal is a hot topic today. The main objective of this ambitious economic proposal is to focus infrastructure investments on solutions which use renewable energy sources with an end goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. The Deal aims to develop 20M ‘well paying’ jobs by converting current building infrastructure into modern, environmentally sound superstructures.
What does Constructing the Green New Deal mean for your construction organization?
In the foreseeable future, maybe not a whole lot. BUT organizations who drag their feet on implementing green building practices could be leaving money on the table down the line. The Green building movement is not new and it’s undeniably gaining steam. So the question you should be asking yourself is, “Should my organization jump on the Green New Deal bandwagon in 2019?
Opportunities in Constructing the Green New Deal
- Building retrofits
While the plan lacks specifics, one major component of the hypothetical job creation is retrofitting every single building in America to meet net-zero energy compliance. This will require participation by each construction trade. If your organization is already implementing green building technology – you could be ahead of the game and in position for a profitable trend upward.
- Renewable energy infrastructure.
Constructing renewable energy infrastructure such as wind turbine farms is already seeing a lot of investment from big corporate dollars. A California company is taking the plunge in this category with 20 wind turbine projects in production. They are betting that they will receive continued commitment from companies like Google, Target, and Walmart to make the investment worth it.
The small print of the Green New Deal
- Labor Unions question the profitability of opportunities available for workers in the Green New Deal. The jobs created in a renewable energy model are categorized as ‘less risky’ than those found in a traditional fossil fuel jobs economy and therefore they are valued at a smaller wage. The Deal uses the ubiquitous $15 hourly wage number, but many commercial construction jobs in today’s economic climate are reaching $30 per hour.
- Workforce readiness is not what it needs to be for the Green New Deal to come into being. Renewable energy accounts for 10% of the total energy production. Presumably workers in 90% of today’s energy production methods would need to be retrained. If the Deal wants to move jobs away from work like natural gas production into jobs like building commercial solar arrays – it will be a costly endeavor that can’t happen overnight.
Ultimately, should your organization jump on the bandwagon and invest in green building technology in preparation for this industry transition? State level experimentation has already begun. There are also nearly 40 scientific models that demonstrate the all-renewable proposal technically is possible. So while the current political outlook is shaky for the Green New Deal, the business opportunities for construction companies shouldn’t be ignored.