Saturday, March 29, 2008

President's Message, April 2008

What color is your collar?

Wrong: It's green. (Unless you said 'green', in which case congratulations on your fashion sense).

Green-Collar Jobs are the new buzzword, as people begin to see the economic opportunities for work in sustainable fields. A January Business Week article notes the trend of professionals moving into green collar jobs.

A growing number of midlife career-changers...are trading in their nine-to-fives for jobs more in line with their convictions and concerns for Mother Earth. So-called "green-collar jobs" are on the rise—the current tally of 8.5 million U.S. jobs in renewable-energy and energy-efficiency industries could grow to as many as 40 million by 2030, according to a November report commissioned by the American Solar Energy Society.

We have it easy--We don't need to change professions to work in the sustainability field; our field has moved into the sustainability field already.

And it's only going to become more and more involved in these matters in the years to come.


Well if you were lucky enough to attend the 2nd day of Puget Sound ASHRAE's EV2030-2008 event last Thursday, March 27th, you would have been treated to a peek into the future provided by Mack McFarland. Mack is an environmental Fellow at DuPont who has had years of experience studying the atmosphere and climate change. He is also a contributing author to the IPCC Fourth Assessment Working Group III report on mitigation strategies. Recently he has been working with public policy and has been involved in efforts to create legislation to address this issue. Mack made the simple observation that all three presidential candidates in the race as of this date have stated a desire to reduce US carbon emissions, and that the political will to act on this matter seems to be growing in Congress. In his estimation, we are just a few short years from seeing some sort of carbon cap and trade legislation enacted in the United States.

The most prominent emissions reduction bill in Congress today is the America's Climate Security Act of 2007, and Mack discussed the implications of this bill to our economy. And while this bill may or may not pass, the safe money is on something very similar shaping our industry in the near future.

The first provision of this act is to freeze emissions at 2012 levels. Then the overall carbon emissions allowed for the country will decrease 2% per year until reaching 30% of 2012 levels in 2050. It is expected that this market mechanism will cause carbon to trade anywhere from $18-30 per ton. This incentive will provide a market where conservation is highly valued, and penalties for not meeting emissions reductions are severe.

So why should we in the HVAC industry care? Perhaps the best illustration of the impacts of this legislation on our industry is found in the graph below:

click for larger image

The built environment, both residential and commercial, is the BIGGEST single contributor of carbon emissions to the atmosphere.

Bigger than industry.

Bigger than transportation.

There is a big bullseye on our industry--and that bullseye means great opportunity for those of us in the HVAC field.

This sort of carbon market will put a value on conservation beyond the simple draw of 'doing the right thing'. Real dollars will be invested to fund projects to provide reductions--and those projects mean jobs for those of us who provide efficiency solutions to our customers. Solutions not only for new construction, but also largely for the existing buildings which make up over 95% of our building stock.

So loosen up that collar and roll up your sleeves--We've got a lot of work to do!

Thanks to all contributors and volunteers who made EV2030 a great event for all!

I can't wait for EV2030-2009!

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