The US energy efficiency industry added more new jobs than any other industry in the country’s entire energy sector in 2017 and now employs nearly 2.25 million people, according to new figures from E4TheFuture and Environmental Entrepreneurs.
According to a new jobs analysis by nonprofit E4TheFuture and national energy advocacy group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), energy efficiency workers in the United States now outnumber elementary and middle school teachers, and almost double that of Americans working in law enforcement.
More importantly, the country’s energy efficiency industry employs twice as many as the fossil fuel industry.
“This good news buoys us beyond politics to unite a focus on the positive,” said Steve Cowell, president of E4TheFuture. “We have long known that energy efficiency is a major source of jobs, and by conservative estimates, about one in every hundred US adults now works in energy efficiency. Efficiency is also a key strategy for meeting multiple policy objectives. It saves money, improves health, lowers carbon emissions and creates local jobs that cannot be outsourced.”
The report shows that the energy efficiency industry is the fastest growing and largest energy jobs sector in the country, employing workers in 99.7% of America’s counties (3,000 out of 3,007). In 2017 alone, the industry added 67,000 net jobs and now accounts for 35% of all US energy jobs.
To understand exactly the impact of the energy efficiency industry, it’s worth noting exactly what type of jobs are considered to be “energy efficiency jobs.” According to E2, “Energy efficiency employment covers jobs in both the production of energy-saving products and the provision of services that reduce end-use energy consumption. These services include not only the manufacture of ENERGY STAR appliances and other ENERGY STAR labeled products, but also building design and contracting services that provide insulation, improve natural lighting, and reduce overall energy consumption across homes and businesses.”
That’s not all, however, with jobs in sales and professional services — such as those in financing and accounting, architecture, engineering, and R&D — as well as a small percentage of “other” jobs such as those involved in non-profit organizations.
It should come as no real surprise that California leads energy efficiency employment with 310,000 jobs, over double that of the nearest state, Texas, with 154,000 jobs, followed by New York (117,000), Florida (112,000), and Illinois (87,000). A total of 17 states now employ over 50,000 workers, and more than 300,000 energy efficiency jobs are located in rural areas.
“We all know energy efficiency creates savings for consumers and businesses with every month’s electric bill,” added Bob Keefe, executive director of E2. “We also now know that energy efficiency creates jobs – millions of them – all across America. These are good-paying jobs at your neighborhood construction company, upgrading windows and installing insulation; at your hometown HVAC contractor, installing heat pumps and high-efficiency air conditioners; at your local factory, manufacturing Energy Star appliances and LED lighting systems; and at thousands of related companies nationwide.”
And the current trend that has seen energy efficiency jobs become such an important part of the US energy sector is expected to continue, according to E2, and is in fact already happening, with energy efficiency businesses across the US already reporting expected job growth in 2018 of 9%, which would triple 2017’s numbers. Further, this growth is also seen across all major supply chain industries including manufacturing, sales & distribution, construction & repairs, and professional services.