Eco Trades

Eco Trades

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

Imagine helping to save the environment, just by going to work. Working in an eco-trade might not help you to change the world, but it could make a difference. Working in an area such as solar energy, for example, can be a good career while also helping to improve the world.

How much do you know about the trades? When your home or school has a problem with lighting, an electrician can help fix the issue. If the sinks are plugged, a plumber is the one who knows what to do. Tradespeople deal with all kinds of issues related to the buildings that we live in and the machines that we use.

Plumbing and electrical work are some examples of regular trades, but eco-trades are different. Although they still deal with the places where people live and work, they use materials and techniques that leave the earth as unharmed as possible. The might work with natural materials or energy-efficient sources of power, but they try not to use up too many resources or to create problems for the natural world.

One of these eco-trades involves solar energy. You probably know that some of the traditional types of energy, such as coal or gas, can be very dirty. Fossil fuels produce a lot of pollution, and they will eventually run out since the world’s supplies are limited. Solar energy is part o the solution. The sun warms the earth, but its rays can also be converted into energy for heating buildings or running machines. People who work with solar energy help to provide a very important option for our society.

Becoming a solar energy specialist usually requires both education and experience. Certification as an Environmental Professional is available for people who have at least five years of experience in environmental work and who have a diploma or degree in the field.  Many universities or colleges have courses related to eco-trades, including the Canadian Solar Institute in Ontario. Online courses are possible, but students also need to get practical experience through working with other tradespeople.

People working in this field can make good salaries. Solar energy system installers earn about $49,000 per year, and the system designers can make about $55,000 per year. Installation work is more physically demanding, and it can involve work in bad weather conditions. Solar panels are often on the roofs of buildings, and installers should not be afraid of heights. Design work is mostly indoors, but people in this area might sometimes have to visit the places where the solar panels are installed.

Solar energy and other eco-trades are growing fields, although jobs are likely to be limited to bigger cities in only certain areas of the country. Ontario has a lot of work related to solar energy, but other provinces might have fewer opportunities. If you are willing to move to where the jobs are, working in eco-trades such as solar energy can be a good career choice.


Blackwell, Richard. Solar Power Surging to Forefront of Canadian Energy.”


Canadian Solar Institute. “About.” http://solarinstitute.ca/about.html.

Eco Canada. “Environmental Professional (EP®) Certification.”


Payscale.com. “Solar Energy System Installer Salary (Canada).”

http://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Solar_Energy_System_Installer/Hourly_RatePayscale.com. “Solar Energy Systems Designer Salary (Canada).”


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