Energy efficiency sector employs 2.2 million in the US

According to BW Research Partnerships, 2.2 million people were employed in the energy efficiency sector in the US by the end of 2016.

According to BW Research Partnerships, 2.2 million people were employed in the energy efficiency sector in the US by the end of 2016.

A white paper titled, Energy Efficiency-Jobs and Investments, issued by the American Council for an Energy Efficiency Economy adds that of the 2.2 million workers in the energy efficiency landscape, over one million are permanently employed in the sector.

Findings  published by ACEEE highlights a 7% increase in full-time and part-time employment in the sector.

Energy efficiency executives interviewed in a survey conducted by ACEEE, forecasts employment in the energy conservation field to grow by a further 9% in 2017.

According to ACEEE, 48% worked in the installation and maintenance of heating and cooling systems, 22% in the lighting and appliances whilst 63% were found working in the construction sector.

The total number of employees in the energy efficiency field in the US were found to be employed by 165,000 companies, of which 71% are small businesses employing 1-10 personnel.

Amongst the 50 US states, Texas was found with the highest number of people working in the energy efficiency sector with 147,000, followed by Ohio (79,000), Washington (62,000), Georgia (57,000) and Arizona with 41,000.

This means the energy efficiency sector employs more people than a number of sectors in the energy industry including solar energy generation, wind energy generation and conventional energy generation sectors.

ACEEE says 0.4 million people were employed in the solar energy generation field, 0.1 million in the wind power whilst 1.9 million focused on energy generation using coal, natural gas and gasoline.

Benefits of investments in energy efficiency sector

The increase in the energy efficiency workforce is said to have had a huge impact on the growth of other sectors. For instance, of the 2.2 million energy efficiency workers, 700,000 had a direct impact on the growth of the fuel economy and the hybrid and electric vehicles markets.

ACEEE predicts investments in the sector to have exceeded $86 billion and returned more than double in consumer energy bills and utilities’ operational expenses.

Investments in energy efficiency have also helped states reduce their carbon footprint resulting in benefits in public health. [US utility co-op automates management of energy efficiency portfolio].

ACEEE says energy efficiency results in reductions in the four main leading causes of death in the US (cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, heart disease).


Image credit: 123rf.

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Nicholas Nhede is an experienced energy sector writer based in Clarion Event's Cape Town office. He has been writing for Smart Energy International’s print and online media platforms since 2015, on topics including metering, smart grids, renewable energy, the Internet of Things, distributed energy resources and smart cities. Originally from Zimbabwe, Nicholas holds a diploma in Journalism and Communication Studies. Nicholas has a passion for how technology can be used to accelerate the energy transition and combat climate change.