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Energy Efficiency Jobs Will Rebound After Economic Hit, Says Report

Energy Efficiency Jobs Will Rebound After Economic Hit, Says Report

E4TheFuture and E2 have released their latest energy efficiency jobs report, which highlights the fact that energy efficiency has historically proven to be a job growth catalyst in the aftermath of economic meltdown.

The 12-page report cites the Recovery Act investments after the 2009 financial collapse that led to the weatherization of more than 1 million homes. “Electricians, HVAC technicians and other construction workers – as well as manufacturers of building supplies and ENERGY STAR® appliances – quickly returned to work. Consumers and businesses saved billions of dollars, our environment benefitted, and our nation became more energy secure. Now with the right stimulus policies, we can do it again, but better.”

Energy Efficiency Jobs in 2020 – Prior & During COVID-19

Energy efficiency has historically been a job-creation powerhouse, growing two times faster than overall nationwide employment since 2017 to reach nearly 2.4 million workers at the end of 2019.

For the last four years, the energy efficiency sector became one of the biggest, fastest-growing, and most beneficial sectors for both our economy and our environment.

The energy efficiency workforce was projected to grow 3% in 2020. Of course no one could have predicted the pandemic.

Instead of growing as expected, there was a loss of 13.5% energy efficiency jobs in the U.S. In addition, there was an increase in utility and energy costs due to more people working from home. Ordinarily, efficiency and weatherization would reduce energy costs by 25%, but as one weatherization consultant noted, the pandemic shut down service for over 120 days and resulted in hundreds of delayed home service deliveries.

Instead of focusing on the negatives, the “Energy Efficiency Jobs in America” report aims to learn from lessons of the past and create a game plan for future success.

Key growth areas include:

  • Workforce development & training
  • Local job support & appreciation
  • Policy leadership & recommendations

We’ll discuss these areas in greater detail below, but you can also view the full report here.

Workforce Development & Training

Workforce development is vital to future economic health, and federal stimulus money has proven to be a fast way to get unemployed and transitioning people back to work quickly with new, relevant skills.

The report notes that “Energy efficiency jobs are a great option for those previously employed by contracting energy sectors and those in industries struggling to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic. These are high quality jobs offering above average wages and, in many cases, benefits for young people and mid-career individuals entering the workforce.”

energy efficiency job statistics

If you are a contractor in need of energy efficiency training, visit our Course Catalog or call (800) 460-2575 for guidance on how to proceed.

Local Job Support & Appreciation

What’s great about energy efficiency jobs is that they are inherently local; the vast majority cannot be off-shored. With on-site work required to improve homes and buildings, it’s likely you know energy efficiency professionals in your community.

Stimulus money can get the ball rolling on the training front, but communities can also help support homegrown small businesses by using locally made products and hiring professionals to do home energy audits and weatherization work.

Where can you find trained professionals in your community?

Policy Leadership & Recommendations

Energy efficiency is a proven catalyst for broad economic recovery that can create solid careers in every state and county for years to come.

A model of a robust stimulus package for retrofits of existing buildings illustrates how such a stimulus would create jobs, save money, reduce energy dependence and spur economic growth, all while reducing pollution and climate emissions.

stimulus package for energy efficiency jobs

Federal policy leadership is essential to ensure that both indoor air quality and energy efficiency are addressed to benefit property owners, occupants, and the country.

We need to…

Continue funding for federal energy efficiency programs with a proven track record.

  • State energy programs
  • Weatherization programs
  • Energy efficiency and conservation grants

Support initiatives that incentivize existing building owners to make smart indoor air quality and energy efficiency upgrades to their properties.

  • Commercial and residential building tax credits
  • Residential energy efficiency rebate programs to drive job creation for local contractors
  • Programs to encourage greater efficiency and sustainability in the U.S. housing supply
  • Programs focused on resilience, energy efficiency, and air quality in public buildings

Support programs that move the country forward on indoor air quality and energy efficiency.

  • Strengthen building and appliance efficiency standards with training and enforcement
  • Direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to ensure rebuilding projects after natural disasters meet the most current international building codes
  • Fund energy audits, technical assistance, and financing options for large manufacturers

Advance equity, diversity, and inclusion in federal energy efficiency programs.

  • Strengthen workforce development and apprenticeship programs for the energy efficiency sector while prioritizing equity, diversity, and inclusion
  • Create a workforce grant program to help organizations and small businesses hire and train new energy efficiency employees with a focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion

In conclusion…

State and local leaders can keep energy efficiency jobs growing by:

  • Adopting efficiency and indoor air quality standards for new construction and existing buildings
  • Adopting energy benchmarking and reporting requirements for existing buildings
  • Incorporating broader use of performance contracting in public buildings
  • Advancing commercial and residential property assessed clean energy (PACE) programs
  • Modernizing regulation to align utilities’ incentives with energy efficiency investments and assure transparent and comprehensive cost-effectiveness evaluation
  • Investing in related infrastructure to enable interval data analytics and efficiency building upgrades to boost resilience

For more information and research, view the full report here.

We interviewed Stephen Cowell, the founder of E4TheFuture, several month ago about his thoughts on the future of energy efficiency industry. He reiterated the importance of stimulus money, incentives, and support at that time and was likewise optimistic about the future bounce-back of the industry.

Should You Get an Energy Efficiency Job?

Despite how unsettling things appear, now is actually a great time to begin researching energy efficiency jobs.

There are advocates at the local, state, and federal levels who are working diligently to ensure that people get back to work with high-paying, in-demand energy efficiency jobs.

Now is the time to begin training and preparing, so that when the stimulus money and incentives go into effect, you can hit the ground running.

We want to be part of your success journey. We helped thousands of people earn BPI Certification in 2009-2011 during the time of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding, and we’re ready to do it again.

This time, we now have the ability to offer online BPI training and testing. For those who are still living their lives predominantly from home, you can take the next steps for your career with online training.

For more information about online & in-person training, visit our BPI Training Catalog or call us at (800) 460-2575.

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About Lesley Cowie

Lesley has been passionately advocating for and working with green building and renewable energy since 2009. She has experience with LEED certification, home energy auditing, blower door testing, solar energy, and more. She holds many certifications, including LEED Green Associate and NABCEP Certification. Her work has won numerous awards over the past decade.