TJC is keeping up with the green trend by now offering more classes and certification programs. Students are being trained to become leaders in the green industry. TJC is partnering with CleanEdison, one of the nation’s leading green education companies, to offer an Energy Audit Training Class. This class teaches students about building performance and energy efficiency of buildings and how to improve them. At the end of this class, students can be certified by passing an exam from the Building Performance Institute (BPI). There are also online courses that offer training in various green fields. For example, one class is about green building and how it applies to marketing and sales. It eventually leads to becoming a Green Building Sales Professional, which employs thousands of people throughout the country.”The idea of offering green classes started after the United States House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACESA) in the spring of last year,” said Carla Curtis, program development manager at TJC. According to the ACESA, millions of green jobs would be created, polluiton would be cut, and billions of dollars would be saved each year.
“When we realized this bill might be passed and create many new jobs, we started doing research to find the best training possible for our students,” Curtis said. Some students are taking notice of the new additions. “We have had a lot of interest in the classes so far,” said Curtis. “But not a lot of students have enrolled.” Robert Aiken, owner of Robert Aiken Custom Homes, said that the Texas green economy is growing slower than other states. However, this is probably not due to lack of builders or training but the consumers themselves. “You have to realize that going green is also a learning process for the consumer as well as the builders,” said Aiken. “There is a lot of information as well as misinformation out there and consumers want to be informed before investing.” Adding green programs into the American economy has created differing opinions on the subject. However, with the green market still growing at a fast rate, TJC will continue to offer these classes for the next few years. “We are going to watch what laws pass within local and national governments,” Curtis said. “If there is no longer a need for these classes, we will drop them.” This trend has also grown in the Tyler community. There are more than 15 businesses that offer green products and services. One of them is Wright-Way Services, a real estate company that offers green alternatives such as solar paneling and LED lighting. According to Rudy Wright, owner of Wright-Way Services, there are many benefits to building this way. “Building a green structure can lower your operating cost and increase the indoor air quality,” he said. Now building green is also more affordable. “Due to better materials and more competition, costs are going down,” Wright said. Green houses also have a better resale value than average homes and can get green mortgages. With this trend continuing and more classes being offered at TJC, the green market in Tyler will continue to grow.