Energy efficiency is the fastest-growing segment of US energy-sector employment, now employing more than 2.3 million Americans, according to recent analysis from E4TheFuture and the national, nonpartisan business group E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs). Energy efficiency workers now account for 28 percent of all US energy jobs.
Dennis Schroeder / NREL
The report, Energy Efficiency Jobs in America, finds energy efficiency jobs grew 3.4 percent in 2018 –more than double the rate of growth for overall jobs nationwide — with 7.8 percent growth projected for2019. Among the states, California leads energy-efficiency employment with 318,500 jobs, followed byTexas (162,800), New York (123,300), Florida (118,400), and Illinois (89,400). Thirteen states sawefficiency jobs increase by more than five percent in 2018, led by New Mexico (11.6 percent), Nevada (8.1 percent),Oklahoma (7.2 percent), Colorado (7.2 percent), and New Jersey (7.1 percent). Not a single state saw declines in energyefficiency employment in 2018.
The report highlights energy efficiency’s continued economic importance.
“While politicians argue over the direction of our energy transition, the economic benefits of improving energy efficiency continue to unite America’s business and environmental interests,” said Pat Stanton, Director of Policy at E4TheFuture. “Not only is expanding America’s energy efficiency key to solving multiple climate policy goals, it is now integral to businesses’ expansion plans – saving money and creating local jobs that cannot be outsourced.”
Efficiency businesses added 76,000 net new jobs in 2018, accounting for half of all net jobs added by America’s energy sector (151,700). The sector also employed twice the number of workers in 2018 as all fossil fuel industries combined (1.18 million). There are now more than 360,000 energy efficiency businesses operating across the US.
Energy efficiency jobs include positions in manufacturing, such as building ENERGY STAR® appliances, efficient windows and doors and LED lighting systems. They include jobs in construction – retrofitting buildings, offices and schools to make them more efficient. Efficiency careers are found in high-tech design and software and professional services, as well as at the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) companies that upgrade outdated inefficient HVAC systems, boilers, ductwork and other equipment.
Energy efficiency jobs aren’t limited by geography, geology or political persuasion. There are workers in energy efficiency in every state and in virtually every US. county, the report shows. More than 317,000 energy efficiency jobs are located in rural areas, while 928,000 jobs are found in the nation’s top 25 metro areas. In 41 states and the District of Columbia, more Americans now work in energy efficiency than fossil fuels.
Other key findings:
• 10 percent of energy efficiency jobs are held by veterans — nearly double the national average of 6 percent
• Construction and manufacturing make up more than 70 percent of U.S. energy efficiency jobs
• More than one out of every six U.S. construction workers spend 50 percent or more of their time on energy efficiency (1.3 million workers)
• 321,000 energy efficiency jobs are in manufacturing
• More than 1.1 million energy efficiency jobs are in heating, ventilation, and cooling technologies