- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 11, 2007

D.C. officials said yesterday that they will appoint an advisory council to ensure that residents are prepared to enter the city’s growing “green-building” industry.

“We are going to see more jobs in that sector no matter what the government does,” said D.C. Department of the Environment Director George Hawkins. “There”s demand now, but it’s going to expand.”

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said at a press conference at Cardozo Senior High School in Northwest that he will appoint members to the Green-Collar Jobs Advisory Council to complement the Green Building Act that took effect in March.

Fenty spokesman Sean Madigan said the advisory council likely will include about two dozen appointees who will work with the city government and the private sector to create jobs in energy- and resource-efficient — or green — industries.

Under the District”s law, all new public and private buildings with more than 50,000 square feet must meet standards established by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System, by 2012. All buildings undergoing major renovation are also subject to the standard, which outlines green construction techniques and assigns them point values.

Mr. Hawkins said the Green Building Advisory Council, created by the Green Building law and including representatives of several government agencies, has met over the summer to help develop procedures to comply with new green guidelines when they start being enforced next year.

A 2004 study by Apollo Alliance, a national nonprofit, found that the District could generate $800 million in revenue by implementing green initiatives under a 10-year, $300 billion investment of federal resources nationwide.

According to data from the D.C. Department of Employment Services, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for July in the District was 5.7 percent, translating into 17,800 persons without jobs.

The agency’s director, Summer Spencer, said she spoke with contractors and training providers in the District and determined that the city will be able to develop a pipeline of trained “green-collar” workers in the next six to 12 months.

She also said the contractors are eager to advance green initiatives, but workers will still need core skills before they can start specialized training.

Mr. Fenty, who rode a Metrobus to the press conference, also announced that Sept. 18 is Car Free Day in the District and asked residents, commuters and visitors to walk, bike or use public transportation to get around that day.

“The District is one of the greenest cities in the country,” said Mr. Fenty, a Democrat. “Protecting the environment does not have to cost taxpayer dollars.”

The District’s public-transportation system is the second largest in the country behind New York City’s.

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