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Green jobs blossom in a tough economy

"Green jobs blossom in a tough economySaving planet is hot career track (via Telegram.com)Once restricted to crunchy-granola types, green careers are becoming
increasingly attractive to number crunchers.That's because green innovations, driven in the past by environmental
activism, are now being fueled by tax incentives, rebates and high-paying
salaries."Initially integrating green thinking into real life practices was thought
of as a hippie thing, but times have changed," said John Orr, Worcester
Polytechnic Institute provost. "Now the thinking is 'Save the planet to
save a buck.' "Two energy crises ago, Mr. Orr was an electrical engineer designing car
engines that ran on electricity. Industry has been slow to take green
solutions seriously, he says, because of past unreadiness in technology and
political will.But President Barack Obama's New Energy for America plan, as outlined in
the American Recovery Act, has changed political will with a jolt. The plan
would invest $150 billion during the next 10 years to help create five
million new green jobs; it calls for 10 percent of electricity to come from
renewable energy sources by 2012 and 25 percent by 2025."People who are true believers in green technology have been sort of
waiting for this era to begin," said Cliff Ageloff, a certified energy
manager and consultant who received his bachelor's degree in science and
technology, and master's degree in environment and technology from Clark
University 25 years ago.As a consultant with Second Generation Energy, Mr. Ageloff is working on
installation of a 6.4 kilowatt solar photovoltaic array on the roof of
O'Connor's Restaurant in Worcester. Thirty-two solar modules will
interconnect with the restaurant's electrical system to produce power.But according to Mr. Ageloff, green careersdon't have to be so specialized."There are the super green jobs like sustainable agriculture on one end of
the spectrum, but there are also jobs on the 'gray-green' spectrum," he
said. "Those are the jobs of gray collar workers — the plumbers,
electricians and pipe fitters who can transfer their skills from other
industries to new green technologies."As the dean of interdisciplinary and global studies at WPI, Richard F. Vaz
oversees 500 students in the school's Global Perspective Program at 24
project centers worldwide with emphasis on understanding the impact of
technology and science on real world problems."There are a lot of different entry points into the green economy," Mr. Vaz
said. "This generation of students has the opportunity to solve a lot of
big, messy problems that earlier generations have made."Civil and environmental engineering majors such as Jake Cabrera develop
sustainable designs in all aspects of engineering activities, including
selection of material and energy resources, building design, construction
methods and environmental control technologies."We didn't have the resources to do studies about how much damage we were
doing on Earth but now that we have that analysis, we hit ourselves in the
head and say, 'Those tree huggers had a point,' " he said.Mr. Cabrera was one of the WPI students who focused on a sustainable design
for a recently opened student residence hall and came up with a green roof
solution."In this day and age, environmental sustainability is very important to
offset global warming and the impacts humans have on the planet, which is
not going to be suitable to inhabit if we don't watch what we are doing,"
he said.Along with energy-saving features throughout the 232-bed, apartment-style
East Hall, its green roof covered with 5,000 square feet of sedum, chives
and other plants is a living-learning laboratory for storm water quality
and flow rate monitoring.East Hall was recently recognized a Green Building of America Award winner
by Real Estate & Construction Review. East Hall was designed by
Boston-based CannonDesign, and the general contractor was Gilbane Building
Co. Can"