Green Jobs and Training

By Steven W. Peck

One-hundred-thousand new jobs? On June 1-2, 2010 at the Ronald Regan Conference Center in Washington D.C., Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC)will be hosting its first Regional Green Roofs and Walls Conference and Training to highlight the numerous green job opportunities associated with public investment in the “leafy” green technologies and provide practical information for practicioners. Working in partnership with the Government Services Administration (GSA), which already has more than 1 million feet of green roofs installed, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the District of Columbia, the event will showcase various manufacturers and installers of green roofs and wall technologies. The event will also provide attendees with practical, leading-edge professional training and information from recognized experts.  Specific opportunities include:

Integrated site and building water management (the launch of this new workshop will be on June 1;
Work  toward your Accredited Green Roof Professional (GRP) designation with professional training courses (AIA, USGBC, ASLA CEU approved)  – 101 Introduction, 201 Design and Installation, 301 Waterproofing and Drainage, and 401 Growing Media and Plants all provided on June 1;
Expand your knowledge with a workshop on Green Wall Design, or Ecological Green Roof Design on June 1;
On June 2, learn how to develop your project in order to maximize storm water management and USGBC LEED Credits;
Learn how to calculate property value increases from green roofs that are accessible and/or viewable;
Find out the latest information on  design guidelines related to fire and wind uplift;
Learn how to meet the project specifications of the General Services Administration (GSA);
Find out how to meet the new EPA Stormwater Guidance 438 for federal facilities using green roofs;
Learn how to manage your professional practice in order to limit your liability;
Find out best practices from a variety of practical case studies of different projects from designers and local developers;
Discover new sources of funding and policy support for your projects, and more.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to visit green roof and wall manufacturers and installers at the trade show on June 2, and tour local green roof and wall projects on June 3. For more detailed information, visit

Green roof and wall projects, when designed, implemented and maintained properly have numerous environmental benefits, which will  vary from project to project.  Yet they also have a tremendous economic stimulus benefit because they can be rapidly implemented — typically in less than a year.  Furthermore, they can generate green jobs that are local and/or regional and that are more labor intensive than many traditional forms of “grey” infrastructure. Are we getting the greatest bang for all of the public funds being expended to stimulate the economy? Are there opportunities being overlooked? Most certainly!

A 2008 study by the Alliance for Water Efficiency and American Rivers using Washington D.C. cost data found that if 1 percent of the green roof ready building area in the United States were greened it would require an investment of 9.7 billion dollars and generate more than 190,000 jobs. A recent analysis conducted by GRHC of more than 22 green roof projects estimates that for each $1 million in green roof expenditure 2.8 full time jobs are created, not counting the ongoing maintenance employment or the manufacture of materials.    

Green roofs and walls are part of a larger opportunity to stimulate greater public investment in the design, installation and maintenance of a variety of forms of “leafy” green infrastructure, including urban forests, community gardens, wetlands and bio-swales. In Washington this June, there will be an unprecedented opportunity for you to become more directly involved in the green roof and wall industry, and to help engage in the discussions that will hopefully lead to a significant ramping up of public investment in this industry.

Steven W. Peck, GRP, HASLA, is founder and president of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities. The association has more than 5,000 members and has completed several initiatives designed to generate a market for widespread green roof infrastructure implementation. For more information, visit

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