December 22, 2013 by  
Filed under Wind Energy Tips

By Henry DeVries

As more and more companies — think auto-makers, retailers, industrial and home builders — recognize the need to be more energy efficient, and are willing to pay to make that transition, more jobs are created.

Taken together, that translates to an improved quality of life and a healthier environment, especially in California, which leads the nation in creating energy-efficiency jobs.

We must be driving more energy-efficient cars, installing more solar panels and turning off lights more often. Because according to the International Energy Agency’s latest report, the U.S. is likely to become one of the world’s most energy-efficient nations by the end of the decade.

Besides moving the U.S. closer to the ultimate goal of becoming energy independent, that means many more jobs will be created for those who choose to enter energy efficiency. This burgeoning sector includes renewable energy, environmental engineering, water management, and sustainable building technology.

“Fortune” magazine’s Anne Fisher recently pointed out that the Department of Labor forecasts a 17 percent rise in job openings in those fields in coming years. A college student searching for a career path that’s both environmentally friendly and financially promising would be wise to consider energy efficiency.

“As a general rule these days,” writes Fisher, “any major that includes the word engineering is an excellent bet. Employers across a wide range of industries are snapping up STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) grads by the thousands, and there aren’t enough of them to go around.”

Sometimes, a mid-career shift to an emerging technology field brings positive results.

A year ago, Janice d’Heilly returned to the workplace as a project developer at GalexC, an Encinitas energy-efficiency firm founded by her brother. After raising her two children in Washington State, she was ready for a new challenge, though she knew virtually nothing about the company or what it did.

Defined as an ESCO (Energy Service Company), GalexC develops, installs and arranges financing for projects with the goal of improving energy efficiency and reducing maintenance costs. A few weeks into her new job and eager to acquire job-ready skills, d’Heilly enrolled in UCSD Extension’s Certificate program for Energy Efficiency.

Her expertise now includes knowing how HVAC systems (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) operate, from the inside out.

“We provide an audit and a turn-key solution for existing commercial and industrial facilities,” she said. “It’s important for me to not only know what we’re doing, but the specific details of why and how we’re doing it.”

That’s being energy efficient.

Henry DeVries, assistant dean for external affairs at UCSD Extension, is co-author of the books “Closing America’s Job Gap” and “How to Close a Deal Like Warren Buffett.” He also provides career tips on San Diego 6 TV and can be contacted at
hdevries@ucsd.edu or followed on Twitter@goodjobs_forall.

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