#b#Sunil Tewarson#/b#, project manager of the energy efficiency program for Honeywell Utility Solutions, could be a poster child on how to make the switch from a career with diminishing prospects to a green job.
After 19 years in the telecommunications sector, working for AT&T, Bell Labs, Lucent, and Alcatel-Lucent, he was suddenly downsized in August, 2008. The pragmatic Tewarson, trained as an electrical engineer, quickly asked himself two questions: What is an area that will be around for a long time? What is something that I have a passion about?
The answer was the burgeoning industry around energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewables.
His first idea was to start a business, so he took a six-week course leading to a certificate in entrepreneurship. Picking the green area as his focus, he did a competitive analysis, planned a marketing strategy, and analyzed whether he would be successful. In the process he learned a lot about job opportunities in the field.
“I found trends of where money was being spent,” he says, citing in particular a survey on green jobs by the Association of Energy Engineers. He learned, for example, that the United States government is putting money into making the defense forces leaner and greener and retrofitting federal buildings and courthouses. “There’s going to be lot of investment in buildings,” says Tewarson. “Between homes and commercial buildings, the amount of energy and waste produced is very high,” he says.
In February he started managing the New Jersey Comfort Partners program of Honeywell Utility Solutions. Funded by the seven gas and electric utilities in New Jersey, this program serves low-income families by making their homes as efficient as possible and educating them about conservation. The program is funded entirely by the utilities, and Honeywell serves as their general contractor for energy audits, homeowner education, and bringing in specialists for air-conditioning and heating work.
Tewarson will share his expertise in a class on green jobs on Thursday, July 29, at 7 p.m. at Mercer County Community College. The class is part of the college’s green future management certificate program, where managers who have either lost a job or want to change careers will explore the latest information on sustainable practices and projects. Cost: $35. Visit www.mccc.edu/ccs or contact the college at 609-570-3311 or ComEd@mccc.edu.
#b#Energy conservation#/b#. Conservation starts with simple things like shutting off a television before going to sleep or switching to fluorescent bulbs and low-flow shower heads. Or it can require significant investments in insulation or high-efficiency appliances. Energy auditors and technicians will be needed to help home and building owners determine whether a structure is losing significant heating or cooling and what the owners must do to fix an problems.
Energy efficiency. One major area of inefficiency in the United States is the power grid, which is old and faces major problems sustaining itself as demand grows.
The inevitable rebuilding of infrastructure will eventually generate jobs, but in the meantime, smart grid strategies that reduce demand are also creating new positions. With demand response, the home or building owner allows the utility to manage the temperature in exchange for incentives like rebates. If the utility is experiencing peak demand in one area that it cannot handle, then real-time negotiations might ensue with managers of large-scale commercial buildings.
Potential new jobs would be additional facilities managers, energy managers to interact with the utility company, and service people to install and monitor the devices that regulate energy use.
Another growing area is energy and environment design to conserve energy, improve efficiency, and make buildings safer. A smart design is one in which a house’s orientation, the slope of its roof, the color of its roof tiles, and the height of its windows all contribute to efficient energy use. If landlords can prove that a building is healthier, safer, and will cost significantly less to run, they can also raise the rent. The necessary monitoring of this and other areas is creating a new specialty of green law.
#b#Renewables#/b#. “What sustainability really means is: Can something renew itself with close to zero human intervention?” says Tewarson. “The sun will come out, and we know there will be rainfall, even though it will vary.”
In the effort to increase renewable energy, jobs are growing in the solar, wind, and hydro areas. Tewarson offers the growing solar panel industry as an example. “They are still expensive but will get to the point where demand will go up, and they will go down in price,” says Tewarson. He adds that an area now being developed are thin films that act like solar cells.
One resource that is diminishing in many places on the globe is water, and as a result green design has started to be used in landscaping. “If you use native plants — native to a certain ZIP code or region — you don’t need to irrigate as much,” says Tewarson. In what is called xeriscaping, plants only need irrigation during their first year. This is important in a country like ours that uses drinking-quality water for irrigation and for toilets.
And of course watering has other unwanted side effects. “When you are doing that, you are burning fuel somewhere, creating carbon gases,” says Tewarson.
For people looking to move into the green area, Tewarson suggests pursuing certifications in project management, Six Sigma, and LEED. Also useful is a broad understanding of energy management, which can be had through several green organizations. One is the Green Building Council, which has chapters in many cities and countries and hosts many green events.
Another organization is the Association of Energy Engineers and its World Energy Engineers Conference. Many green vendors attend, and Tewarson notes that entrepreneurs who supply green materials constitute yet another kind of green job. They supply materials like paints without volatile organic compounds, carpeting using tree sap instead of synthetic glue, bamboo floors, radiant heating circulating in pipes under the floor, and recycled materials for use in kitchens like paper stone, which is made from compressed cardboard.
Tewarson was born in Massachusetts while his parents, natives of India, were students. His father studied physics at MIT and returned to India to become president of a university; his mother studied psychology at Northeastern.
After graduating from college in India in 1987 with a bachelor’s in electrical engineering, Tewarson earned a master’s in electrical engineering at SUNY Stony Brook.
His first job was with CPC/Best Foods/Muellers, supervising a team that oversaw the plant’s operations and production efficiency. Later he worked as an engineer at Bell Laboratories, he led quality testing, training, and demonstration for a new product launch.
Tewarson then became a strategic marketing manager at AT&T, developing new markets that included the Department of Transportation’s use of fiber optics for electronic toll collection; sensors for ice, flood, and detection of accidents and breakdowns; and electronic signal controls. He then became director of business development for Alcatel-Lucent.
Tewarson emphasizes that the whole green area is not only a boon for the environment, but one that makes financial sense for individuals and businesses. “If you have large inefficiencies, you could be losing on the financial side and on climate and the planet,” he says. Through green design, improved energy efficiency, and renewables, businesses can bring down operating costs 20 to 40 percent, he says, while creating thousands of jobs in a growing industry.