Report: Energy-Efficiency Employment Surges

An analysis by the U.S. Department of Energy reveals that approximately 32 percent of the 6.5 million employees in the U.S. construction industry work on energy-efficiency projects, including contract glaziers and installers of fenestration products.

The agency’s second annual U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER) shows how changes in America’s energy profile are affecting national employment in key sectors of the economy.

“This report verifies the dynamic role that our energy technologies and infrastructure play in a 21st-century economy,” said David Foster, DOE senior advisor on industrial and economic policy.

The 2017 USEER also shows that 2.2 million Americans are employed, in whole or in part, in the design, installation and manufacture of energy-efficiency products and services, a field that added 133,000 jobs in 2016. Energy-efficiency employment is defined as the production or installation of energy-efficient products certified by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program or installed according to the program’s guidelines.

Almost 1.4 million energy-efficiency jobs are in the construction industry. In addition, construction firms involved in the energy-efficiency sector have experienced an increase in the percentage of their workers who spend at least 50 percent of their time on energy-efficiency-related work, rising from 64.8 percent in 2015 to 74 percent in 2016.

Finally, an improved survey methodology identified almost 290,000 manufacturing jobs producing energy-efficient building materials (such as glass and glazing systems) and Energy Star-certified products (such as doors and windows) and in the United States.

“There’s a misperception out there that energy efficiency is just feel-good stuff,” said Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy. “But this report backs up what we’ve been saying for years, which is that this is an industry. There are more than 2 million people across the country with jobs in energy efficiency, from the local contractors weatherizing homes, to the factory workers making efficiency products like insulation and windows and appliances, to engineers who design building controls. These are good-paying U.S. jobs, and we can continue growing these numbers with smart efficiency policy in Washington.”

The report also found that the energy-efficiency sector is expected to add jobs, with 198,000 new hires projected for 2017.

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