Sustainably Speaking

Greenbuild, GreenTown emphasize jobs, economy

This fall Chicago is host to two green building conferences, Greenbuild and GreenTown. Both events are emphasizing green jobs and a green economy. I always look forward to attending GreenTown since there are always new technologies and products to learn about. Plus, they offer a wide variety of tracks to participate in, from alternative energy and design building to green neighborhoods and green infrastructure and jobs. And this year will be my first Greenbuild, which I am excited to attend. I’ve been hearing about it for years, and now I will experience it first hand.

At GreenTown, The Future of Community, which took place in October, contractors, builders, architects and other professionals interested in seeing how a community can become greener, learned how sustainability can be translated into economic development.

Ronald Fleckman, president and CEO, Energy Recovery Technologies LLC, Evanston, Ill., spoke about developing ERV technology, which can save commercial and residential building owners more than 50% of their HVAC related energy costs, and how he created a successful company business model, focusing not only on his company, but on the community.

Fleckman created a new patent pending technology for ERV and a Triple Bottom Line model, identifying the underemployed workforce, creating a training program, developing successful opportunities and specializing in management training. Fleckman has also partnered with the Community Builders of Evanston to hire and train employees from Evanston, Ill.

Fleckman’s company is a great example of how a sustainable technology and business model can create jobs and better the community. His company business model not only emphasizes profit, but it also focuses on employing the unemployed and benefitting the local community. His business model proves that it is possible to focus on the betterment of the community while also making a profit. And his business model does not shy away from or apologize about being profit oriented. After all, profit is why a company is in business.

“In our model, profit is not a dirty word,” Fleckman told attendees. “We are sustainable environmentally and financially.”

The key to Fleckman’s company is that it upholds values, innovation, environmental responsibility, social and community responsibility, and fiscal responsibility. Click here to read about Energy Recovery Technologies’ vision.

Next week, I will attend Greenbuild, which is hosting a Green Jobs Summit and Job Fair Tuesday, Nov. 16, in conjunction with the conference. The summit and job fair is hosted in partnership with the BlueGreen Alliance and the City of Chicago.

The Green Jobs Fair will feature jobs from around the Chicagoland area as well as nationally and is free and open to the public. Some of the employers scheduled to attend include Turner Construction Co., Underwriters Laboratories Inc. and Bank of America.

The Green Jobs Summit will consist of keynote speakers and educational sessions, highlighting best practices, challenges and the next steps for green building jobs programs. Attendees can participate in the following educational sessions: Green Credential to Career; Construction Career Pathways within the Green Economy; Preparing Skilled Workers: The Workforce Development System and Green Building; and Powering the Green Economy: How Federal, State and Local Green Policies are Driving Green Jobs, among other sessions.

Click here for more information on the Green Jobs Summit and Green Jobs Fair.

I look forward to reporting on my first Greenbuild, and if you happen to be at Greenbuild let us know what sessions you are attending by posting a comment to my blog. Or become a fan of Contractor on Facebook by clicking here. Then you can let us know about your GreenBuild experiences via Facebook.

I hope to see you at Greenbuild!