IF YOU HONESTLY think this socalled "green revolution" is a fad, ask yourself: Do you believe that gasoline is going to drop back down to a buck a gallon in your lifetime?
If your belief is that so-called "energy-efficient architecture" costs many times more over its lifecycle than conventional ways of doing things, have you actually looked at the math, especially in light of recent energy prices? Do you think everyone who promotes "sustainable technology" is a commieleftwing-liberal pinko bent on destroying our very way of American life?
That's what it's boiling down to, my friends. If you honestly believe that global warming is a myth, then ignore this column and hang on to your hats because the beach is gonna be sizzlin' soon. That is, if it's even there in a few years due to rising sea levels.
Since global warming is no myth, this is the question: How can I, as a project manager in the mechanical contracting field, make an honest buck off any or all of this?
Well, you could go into business selling icebergs to Inuits since they're going to need them soon to keep their igloos cool. But perhaps the best advice I can give is to consider obtaining Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council ( www. usgbc.org) in one or more specialty areas.
A Professional Engineer designation has always helped one's chances of becoming a project manager and the "PMP"/Project Management Professional designation from the Project Management Institute (pmi.org/) is becoming more popular. The fact is, however, that there are more registered PEs than licensed Master Plumbers and, while the PMP designation tells some folks that you know how some jobs shouldn't be run, the fact of the matter is that such a buck-saving credential definitely does get potential employers' attention. Knowing how to save a buck counts, especially when those bucks are expensive.
"LEED accreditation carries very strong weight in management decisions on whom to hire or not since all major firms understand that all publicly funded buildings built in the future will be green buildings," says Carol S. Wilburn, P.E./LEED-AP accredited independent consulting engineer for sustainable technologies ([email protected], 919/969-6553). "The proof is in the number of local governmental bodies requiring ' commissioning' of buildings, which requires that contractors have people in place that understand what LEED is all about. Since governments will soon require all buildings that are built with public money be LEED certifiable (people receive LEED accreditation, buildings get LEED certification), that in itself will drive the private sector building market even further into green and the need for personnel with knowledge of sustainable technologies along with it."
Think of the green revolution as being comparable to the original "air conditioning revolution" back in the mid-20th century. The first air conditioners were expensive to buy 60 years ago and required what amounted to a self-selected "priesthood" to install and operate.
Because of that, their use was limited to larger commercial and government buildings where comfort cooling made sense such as hospitals, office buildings and theaters. As time passed, people became more appreciative and accustomed to the idea of being comfortable year-around, and the number of installed units increased. As production increased, the cost to buy, install and maintain them dropped faster than the proverbial rock to the point where A/C until recently (because of increased energy costs) was taken for granted, not as a luxury, but as a necessity.
Don't you think that pioneering bunch of original HVAC design-buildinstall contractors made just a ton of money in the early days of that gold rush? Don't you want in, now, on the ground floor of the next revolution in comfort technology — that of sustainable and super energy-efficient design and installation means, methods and materials?
To do so, you'll need proof of your knowledge of this new paradigm, this new way of thinking old, this new way of doing business the old-fashioned way, that of being kind to your neighbors by saving them mucho dollars. And being kind to the only atmosphere you can actually breathe in. That means becoming LEED accredited.
H. Kent Craig is a second-generation mechanical contractor and project manager with unlimited Master's licenses in boilers, air conditioning, heating and plumbing. He can be reached by calling 919/291-0878, or via e-mail at hkcraig@ yahoo.com. His Website is www.hkentcraig.com