By Sarah Davies
Renewable energy isn’t the future – it’s right now. Every day, people around the world are making a sincere effort to reduce their dependency on energy sources that are harming the environment. It’s become more affordable to make the switch, and the average homeowner or business leader is always looking for ways to make the world a little greener. If you share the passion, you’ll easily be able to turn that passion into a career.
1. Contractor / Electrician
Becoming a contractor is one of the easiest ways to get involved in green energy. People need their solar panels installed, and someone has to come out and do the job. You can also provide complementary services, like better insulation or special windows that keep heating and cooling needs to a minimum. As a contractor, you can meet the needs for both renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Now that people are switching energy sources, someone needs to be able to equip buildings to fully utilize them. Solar and wind energy won’t work well with old wiring. These energy sources need specialty electricians to install the new pathways to power these homes and businesses.
2. Green Engineering
Green engineering is a broad field. These engineers help design things like wind turbines and solar panels that are budget friendly and highly efficient. They can work in any sector where things need to be built and powered. Almost every industry, from farming to manufacturing to commercial development to real estate will benefit from the help of a green engineer.
Environmental engineering includes engineers who use chemistry, biology, and soil science together with principles of engineering to develop solutions that address environmental problems. Not all environmental engineers have degrees in this area – in fact, many job postings include geotechnical or civil engineering degrees as prerequisites.
An interesting area of environmental engineering is biofuel engineering. Biofuels are expected to change our lives dramatically when they become widespread and start fueling our cars and jets, or heating our homes. Biofuel engineers perform jobs that are focused on upgrading processes and equipment required for dealing with biofuels.
3. Sustainable Farming
Many industries rely on biofuels to fill energy gaps. Biofuels are often derived from things like corn, soybeans, and even sugarcane byproducts. Even manure can be used to create biofuel. Farmers have a very important job in helping the environment. Some of the most interesting career lines in sustainable agriculture include agronomy (with a focus on scientific methods for the production of field crops), soil science, horticulture, animal science, and organic farming. In fact, organic farming practices that maintain soil productivity and protect the environment are highly sought-after today and specialists who know how to limit the use synthetic fertilizers and pesticides – usually in possession of a degree in environmental or agricultural science – can find various employment opportunistic.
Another interesting area is green biotechnology. Biotechnology refers to the industrial use of living organisms (or parts of living organisms) to produce foods, drugs, or other products. Green biotechnology (also called plant biotechnology) is a rapidly expanding field that aims to improve the production and output of crops thanks to eco-friendly alternatives (bio fuels, bio fertilizers and bio pesticides).
4. Environmental Consultant
Being an environmental consultant applies to more than just renewable energy – it affects all aspects of a company’s efforts to become environmentally friendly. Organizations trying to reduce their environmental impact will hire consultants to measure what they’re doing and find ways to reduce damage they may be doing. You can help convert dirty businesses into clean ones.
An environmental consultant usually works on a contractual basis for private and public sector clients, addressing issues such as water pollution, air quality, and soil contamination. An environmental consultant has the scientific knowledge and technical expertise to conduct field and desk-based research, carry out environmental assessments, and advise companies on a variety of matters. For example, if a company considers buying a piece of land for development, the consultant can assess the land before the purchase and collect relevant data to research that particular site further.
Renewable energy is having a significant impact on the automotive industry. Cars that are highly efficient on fuel are built completely differently from the cars of generations past. Even larger delivery vehicles are being improved for efficiency. As electric vehicles become more widespread, you can be sure that the demand for professionals who know how to maintain and repair such cars will rise as well. While much of the routine maintenance and repair work can be carried out by regular repair workers, electrical systems and drivetrain require skilled workers who are familiar with electric vehicles. Moreover, repairing or installing electric vehicle batteries are tasks that require training as well.
6. Architecture and Design
The advent of solar and wind energy has changed the way we approach the design of new buildings and structures. With Elon Musk’s passion project of developing the solar roof beginning to shake up the way developers are approaching the design process, it’s an exciting time to get onboard. Architects and designers of all sorts are going to need to adapt.
There are plenty career choices in green design: architects, landscapers and urban planners are all part of a growing professional force that aims to make the spaces where we live and work more environmentally-friendly.
Having experience in business administration and communications, Sarah Davies currently works at Open Colleges, Australia’s leading online educator. She loves sharing her tips and suggestions about topics pertaining to careers and business. Feel free to find her at @sarah_davies_au.