New Energy Efficiency Jobs Report Shows Us We Can Make a Comeback
Macie Melendez, Editor in Chief, Building Performance eJournal
Monday, November 23, 2020

Last week, E4TheFuture and E2 released their latest energy efficiency jobs report—complete with an interactive map of the United Statesthat shows energy efficiency jobs by sector and how those jobs have been affected by COVID-19. The information, data, and graphics are incredible. The reality of the data is humbling.

At the beginning of the Energy Efficiency Jobs in America report, it states: “The EE workforce was projected to grow 3% in 2020. Instead, it shrank 13.5%.” The report offers both national and state-level data, as well as provides details on the size of our industry’s employment sector. Of course, as with all industries, ours is facing an uphill battle in terms of employment.

The Upside

But it’s not all negative. As stated in the report, “History shows that energy efficiency is a proven job growth catalyst in the aftermath of economic meltdown.”

In fact, after the financial collapse that occurred in 2009, the Recovery Act funded the weatherization of more than 1 million homes, and provided work to contractors and construction workers across the country. “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,” the report states.

E4TheFuture and E2 offer multiple ways to view the Energy Efficiency Jobs in America report data, but a major takeaway is that the energy efficiency industry is a top US employer, with a workforce of nearly 2.4 million Americans (before the pandemic). From 2016 to 2019, efficiency jobs grew at a strong and steady pace—and can do so again.

The report provides job numbers by:

  • Congressional and state districts

  • County and metropolitan areas

  • Sectors (job type)

  • Supply chain categories

New data for all states:

  • COVID-19 impact on EE employment

  • Potential for industry recovery and growth

  • Demographic and wage data

  • Energy sector size comparison

Supporting Our Industry

The Building Performance Association believes that energy efficiency can help make our comeback stronger than our setback. Which is why we have our BPA Career Center website that connects employers with potential workers across the country. BPA members are able to post jobs on the career board, which are then shared widely across BPA social media channels—furthering exposure and opportunity.

Additionally, workforce development issues consistently rank as a top concern for BPA members and industry partners. BPA, with funding from the Department of Energy (DOE) and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is currently preparing a workforce development (WFD) Needs Assessment, which will ultimately inform a WFD Education Plan designed to increase the flow of new workers as well as retain and upskill current workers in the residential retrofit home performance industry. (You can read more about workforce development here.)

In that same vein, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) and its partners are developing an interactive career map that highlights the breadth of rewarding career opportunities in the energy efficiency sectors.

Through a recent three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Energy Building Technologies Office, key partners in the project—including BPA, Building Performance Institute (BPI), the National Community Action Partnership (CAP), the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) and the Home Builders Institute (HBI)—will conduct extensive outreach to reach a large audience of diverse stakeholders and foster a talent pipeline that is inclusive of low-income and other vulnerable populations.

What’s Next?

While there’s a long road ahead, we at BPA truly stand by the adage “we’re better together.” As an industry association, we’re focused on helping our community and our members—and that includes getting people back to work quickly and safely. As always, we will continue to provide education, resources, and access to jobs, and we greatly appreciate your support.

You can download the full Energy Efficiency Jobs in America report here:

Or visit the interactive website here:

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