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The “Go Green” revolution has made its way into the construction industry, changing how many projects are approached and completed. While this transition to green construction can be attributed in part to a variety of factors, none is more important than consumer demand, which has picked up in recent years and put the onus on construction companies to ascertain the materials and skills needed to implement these new techniques.
With green technology and an eco-conscious construction philosophy increasingly shaping how construction projects are executed, many project managers are finding that earning a construction management degree is a logical step in preparing for this evolving field of work. Despite its current trendiness, green construction is only expected to become more popular as consumers realize the economic benefits of going green.
The recession’s effects on the construction market
The recent economic downturn in the United States has delivered a hard hit to the construction industry. With the economy down, construction projects have been delayed and sometimes scrapped, making it hard for companies to maintain a steady line of work.
Even years after the recession first hit, the economic recovery has been slow, and a still-hurting real estate market isn’t making things easier. New constructions are simply too much of a risk, and too expensive, for many individuals and businesses to feel comfortable making such an investment. The good news for construction companies is that the well of work hasn’t entirely dried up, but rather has been supplemented by increasing consumer interest in funding renovations of existing properties rather than constructions of new ones.
In many cases, these renovations seek to implement energy-efficient features into the properties, making the constructions more efficient in their use of energy. This ultimately leads to lower utility bills, and over time these renovations can save property owner money that defrays the cost of the renovation.
Meanwhile, these renovations still add value to the property and are themselves an investment, albeit a much less risky one than an entirely new construction would pose.
New opportunities for “green” experts
Naturally, this sudden spike in demand for green construction has created a need within the industry for professionals experienced in implementing these energy-efficient features. Engineers and construction managers who understand how to efficiently install these features are at a premium within the industry, particularly if their formal educations have focused on green construction.
Even at a time when construction business owners are leery of hiring on new employees when their current ones are struggling to stay busy, investing in a green construction expert can create new revenue streams that could provide enough stimulus to carry the business to greener pastures.
Job prospects for green construction experts
Although green construction renovations are certifiably trendy at this point in time, the demand for green constructions isn’t expected to fade out over time. Even as the economy improves, consumers will be drawn to the long-term savings potential of green constructions, which in some cases can pay for themselves by yielding significant savings on monthly utilities bills.
Consequently, students pursuing careers in construction would do well to familiarize themselves with the strategies and skills used to install green-friendly features into buildings. If and when the economy does rebound, the construction industry is likely to see an increase in the number of new constructions being built. But that only creates more opportunities for green construction.
New trends are buoying the construction industry
Although renovations comprise a larger-than-normal chunk of today’s construction business, there are still new constructions going up every day. Part of the credit for this goes to a government stimulus package that set aside $27 billion of funding for the construction of roadways, schools, educational facilities and hospitals. Some proposed initiatives that may soon gain approval from the government may provide even more incentive to investing in green constructions, which are sometimes ignored because of the higher up-front cost carried by this efficient form of construction.
But both small- and large-scale retails projects continue to spur on the market, with the only downside being that commercial jobs provide much less work to the construction industry than the residential market. Commercial franchises are now starting to build new locations after growth in this sector stalled and, in some cases, receded. The last major hurdle for the construction industry is a return to pre-recession residential construction rates, and while that will take time, growth in new home construction is expected this year.
Slowly,within the construction industry. Indeed, there will come a day when the thought of a non-energy efficient construction will elicit bugged eyes and disgusted guffaws. Resistance is futile, but embracing this new wave of construction can give any worker a leg up over the competition and prepare them for a long, fruitful career in an evolving industry.
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