Sustainable Georgia Roundup
Clean-energy Jobs Climb: According to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Energy, Georgia had 76,533 clean-energy jobs last year, a 2.21 percent increase over 2016. The U.S. Energy and Employment Report noted that the state’s largest portion of clean-energy jobs occurred in the construction industry for installation of energy-efficient products, such as HVAC systems and lighting.
Despite nationwide job losses in the solar industry due to tariffs on imported solar panels, Georgia added 500 solar jobs last year. The Solar Foundation Georgia estimates that the state has more than 5,000 solar workers, mostly employed in installation.
Carbon Footprint Decline: Dalton-based Shaw Industries Group is in step with major corporations that are pursuing clean-energy alternatives to reduce their carbon footprint. Shaw has achieved carbon neutrality – net zero carbon emissions – across its commercial carpet manufacturing facilities worldwide. To reach net zero, the company reduced energy consumption and switched to cleaner fuels in addition to producing renewable energy at its facilities. For example, the Cartersville carpet tile plant installed a 1 MW solar array on its roof. Shaw also purchased renewable energy credits to incentivize renewable energy development.
Worldwide, the company’s operations have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 25 percent since 2010. Shaw has a goal of 40 percent reduction in the amount of energy used and greenhouse gas emissions produced by 2030.
Bald Eagles Thrive: A recent survey by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources showed continued improvement in the numbers of bald eagles in eastern Georgia and along the coast. More than 100 nesting areas and about 127 young birds were found in this area. A 2017 survey of the entire state revealed a record 218 nest territories.