Over 2.2 million Americans work in energy efficiency
Policymakers urged to support workforce training as efficiency investments grow
WASHINGTON — With the stage set for historic levels of federal energy efficiency funding to flow to states across the country, new data show that America’s energy efficiency workforce needs to grow rapidly.
According to the latest annual Energy Efficiency Jobs in America report, 2,215,432 Americans worked in energy efficiency in 2022. That’s more people than work in any other sector of the energy industry, including gas, oil, and coal. And the energy efficiency (EE) workforce grew by over 2% last year, outstripping industry projections. But those numbers still aren’t back to pre-COVID levels: in 2019, nearly 2.4 million Americans held EE jobs.
“Energy efficiency work means good local jobs and equitable economic growth,” said Bob Keefe, executive director of the national nonpartisan business group E2, which partners with the nonprofit E4TheFuture to release the annual Energy Efficiency Jobs in America report. “It also means reducing costs for families and building owners. “By passing policies that speed up building decarbonization and electrification, we can create even more of these savings and jobs, while simultaneously reducing emissions and the impacts of climate change.”
For 2023, businesses are projecting EE job numbers to grow by almost 6%. But finding trained workers remains a challenge.
“More than 84% of energy efficiency businesses are reporting difficulty in finding employees,” said Phil Jordan, vice president at BW Research Partnership, which conducted and oversaw research efforts and compiled the report’s data. “Federal, state and local policies can help strengthen workforce development and apprenticeship programs for the energy efficiency sector.”
Given the labor shortage and the expected levels of EE investment over the next few years, workforce development options are a hot topic in state after state.
“Efficiency construction workers are in especially high demand,” said Pat Stanton, executive director of E4TheFuture. “Construction is already the largest subsector in terms of EE jobs, and training and certifications are really important — both in ensuring quality infrastructure and building performance, and in helping workers land the best jobs with the best salaries,” Stanton said.
Energy efficiency jobs run the gamut from manufacturing and sales, to installation and repair, to jobs in professions including architecture and accounting. For the second year in a row, the states experiencing the highest percentage growth in the number of EE jobs were Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and New Jersey. States with the most EE jobs overall were California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois.
Using 2022 data, Energy Efficiency Jobs in America focuses on the EE sector of the U.S. economy, with an emphasis on the built environment. This report captures only jobs using certified energy efficiency products or those installed according to ENERGY STAR guidelines, and high-performance building materials. It omits EE jobs in transportation, electric grid technologies, water use, and waste management.
Previous Energy Efficiency Jobs in America reports:
- Energy Efficiency Jobs in America 2017 | E4TheFuture + E2
- Energy Efficiency Jobs in America 2018 | E4TheFuture + E2
- Energy Efficiency Jobs in America 2019 | E4TheFuture + E2
- Energy Efficiency Jobs in America 2020 | E4TheFuture + E2
- Energy Efficiency Jobs in America 2021 | E4TheFuture + E2
- Energy Efficiency Jobs in America 2022 | E4TheFuture + E2
E4TheFuture is dedicated to bringing clean, efficient energy home for every American and promotes energy solutions to advance climate protection and economic fairness. Visit www.E4TheFuture.org; Twitter/X @E4TheFuture and @FacesofEE.
E2 is a national, nonpartisan group of business leaders, investors, and professionals from every sector of the economy who advocate for smart policies that are good for the economy and good for the environment. Our members have founded or funded more than 2,500 companies, created more than 600,000 jobs, and manage more than $100 billion in venture and private equity capital. See www.e2.org; Twitter/X @e2org.
BW Research Partnership is a full-service, economic and workforce research consulting firm with offices in Carlsbad, California and Wrentham, Massachusetts. It is the nation’s leading provider of accurate, comprehensive energy and clean energy research studies, including the United States Energy and Employment Report (USEER), National Solar Jobs Census, wind industry analyses for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Natural Resources Defense Council, and state-level clean energy reports for Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, Maine, New Hampshire, California, Vermont, Iowa, Rhode Island, Florida, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Missouri, among others.