The Jobs Opportunity of Energy Efficiency
The energy efficiency industry crosses a broad swath of the American economy, touching every geographic region and a wide variety of sectors such as construction, manufacturing, installation, professional services, engineering and research. Across the entire spectrum, the energy efficiency industry supports more than 2.2 million jobs, in full or in part, according to a recent U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) study. These are good-paying jobs manufacturing high-efficiency appliances, weatherizing homes to reduce utility bills, or researching new efficiency technologies that will transform the next generation of products Americans use every day. Most of them cannot be exported offshore.
Broad Reach: A Mile Wide and a Mile Deep
Energy efficiency is by far the largest source of clean energy jobs in the U.S, and its 2.2 million jobs account for more than a third of the entire U.S. energy workforce of about 6.4 million people, the DOE study found. With representation across many job functions and skill levels, and a heavy presence in construction and manufacturing, these jobs are diverse and are spread widely across the country, with a strong presence in every state.
Additionally, 70 percent of efficiency jobs are found in small businesses with fewer than 10 people, according to a 2016 study by E4TheFuture and Environmental Entrepreneurs. These small businesses are critical to their local economies, both as a source of employment that cannot be exported overseas and as a driver for increased energy efficiency at the local level.
A Productive Future
The energy efficiency sector added 133,000 jobs in 2016, an increase of 6 percent, and the outlook is even more promising looking forward. As demand for high-efficiency products rises and new technologies emerge, the projected 2017 employment growth rate in the energy efficiency sector is 9 percent, according to employers surveyed in the DOE study. That would boost efficiency employment by 198,000 jobs to a total of 2.4 million jobs.
The Role of Strong Energy Efficiency Policy
Federal and state policies that promote energy efficiency have contributed significantly to the growth in energy efficiency jobs and can continue to support this upward trend. Bipartisan policies such as appliance standards, building energy codes, state energy efficiency resource standards, and utility and third-party energy efficiency programs are practical, low-cost solutions that increase employment, reduce energy costs, increase energy security, and reduce the environmental impacts of energy use. These economic reports confirm that we can achieve all of these goals while stimulating economic development nationwide.
Both reports referenced in this fact sheet – from DOE and E4TheFuture – utilize a new methodology by BW Research Partnership that successfully assesses the broad impact of energy efficiency jobs in America. Through a combination of statistical analysis and detailed survey work, BW Research Partnership has used a rigorous methodology to quantify jobs and produced a robust dataset underlying these reports.