Report: Energy-efficiency employment climbing
Energy-efficiency employment in the United States topped 6.5 million in 2017, according to recent research.
That’s an increase of about 2 percent, or 133,000 jobs, and the jump represented nearly 7 percent of all new jobs added across the country in all employment sectors, according to the U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER).
Those Americans manufactured, designed and installed energy-efficient products certified by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program or installed according to Energy Star guidelines, the USEER said.
That included manufacturers of glass and windows, as well as glaziers and installers of other fenestration products.
The report, produced by the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI) in partnership with the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO), examined employment trends in four sectors: energy efficiency; electric power generation and fuels production; transmission, distribution and storage; and motor vehicles.
About 1.3 million jobs are in the construction industry, a decline from 2016. However, energy efficiency jobs in manufacturing, trade and professional services all increased. Advanced and recycled building materials and insulation technologies, which include glass, windows and doors, also supported a significant amount of employment in construction and manufacturing — about 350,000 jobs.
Roughly 200,000 are in construction, and about 75,000 are in manufacturing.
Energy-efficiency employment was projected to grow at 9 percent annually through this year, the highest of the four sectors studied. Construction employers expect energy efficiency job growth of 11 percent by the end of 2018, while manufacturing will grow at 9.9 percent.
In all, the energy-efficiency sector added 67,000 net jobs in 2017.
According to the report, construction firms in the energy-efficiency sector saw an increase in the number of workers who spend at least 50 percent of their time on energy-efficiency-related work, rising from approximately 797,500 in 2015 to nearly 1.024 million in 2017. Energy efficiency professional services, such as architects or product designers, added 63,000 jobs.
Manufacturing jobs producing Energy Star-certified building materials and other products rose 9 percent, or roughly 27,000 jobs.
Finding qualified labor remains a major problem, the research shows. In the energy efficiency sector, 60 percent or more of employers reported at least some difficulty in hiring.