The Jobs and Economic Benefits of Decarbonizing
Buildings Across the Garden State

SUMMARY

The Garden State is home to nearly 33,000 people who are employed in work directly related to constructing high-performance, climate-friendly, decarbonized buildings capable of running on 100% clean power. The work they engage in includes activities like installing electric induction stoves in kitchens in Hoboken, replacing old insulation in drafty attics of single-family homes in Hunterdon County, or fitting new pipes for geothermal heating and cooling systems in offices in industrial parks along the Jersey Shore.

To better understand how decarbonizing New Jersey’s buildings is impacting the state’s labor market, E2 took a deeper dive into the state’s overall building decarbonization employment data.

By looking at five employment areas — technology; value chain; residential and commercial sector employment; electrification, building envelope and other energy efficiency; and specific occupational analysis —we found that:

  • Northern New Jersey is home to the highest concentration of the state’s building decarbonization jobs but every other region in the state is home to thousands as well.
  • More than half of New Jersey’s building decarbonization jobs were in construction-related fields, which can include tasks like erecting scaffolding and other temporary construction site structures, loading or unloading building materials, operating on-site equipment, and digging trenches and earthworks to prepare construction sites.
  • Statewide, there are more than 21,000 workers involved in residential building decarbonization; another 16,000 work in commercial building decarbonization, with some overlap between the two. This suggests broad opportunities and transferable skills for people who work on everything from single-story ranch houses and barns, to high-rise office buildings in urban centers.
  • In 2020, the average annual wages for five select occupations within building decarbonization in New Jersey ranged from $56,700 (for workers who are involved in insulation, floors, ceilings and walls) to $75,800 (plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters). Introduction
  • The education required for entry-level jobs and the on-the-job training that workers receive varies depending on the occupation. This suggests a wide range of opportunities for workers with various experience levels, backgrounds and education.

Job Highlights by Technology, 2020

Technology New Jersey Jobs
Energy Star & Efficient Lighting 7,167
High Efficiency HVAC & Renewable H&C 6,594
Traditional HVAC 10,181
Other 6,505
Advanced Materials & Insulation 2,433
Total 32,880

Wage, Education, and Training Highlights by Occupation, 2020

The wage data shows how significant of an opportunity building decarbonization represents to workers in New Jersey and to the overall economy. In five of the most common building decarbonization occupations, average annual wages in New Jersey range from $56,700 to $75,800.

Occupation New Jersey Avg Annual Wage National Avg. Annual Wage Education & Training: Typical Entry-Level Education Education & Training: Typical On-the-Job Training
Heating, Air Conditioning,
and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers
$63,500 $54,690 High School diploma or equivalent 2-year degree or certificate; long-term on-the-job training
Electricians $75,100 $63,310 High School diploma or equivalent Apprenticeship; long-term training
Construction Laborers $58,700 $44,130 High School diploma or equivalent Short-term on-the-job-training
Insulation Workers, Floor,
Ceiling, and Wall
$56,700 $44,810 High School diploma or equivalent Short-term on-the-job-training
Plumbers, Pipefitters,
and Steamfitters
$75,800 $62,250 Four-year degree Apprenticeship; short-term on-the-job-training

Demographic Highlights by Race and Ethnicity, 2020

The majority of workers within each occupation in the state are white, followed by Black and Asian. Hispanic or Latino workers make up the majority of insulation workers and construction laborers in New Jersey and are approximately one-fifth of the overall workforce in the state.

Occupation AMERICAN INDIAN OR ALASKAN NATIVE ASIAN BLACK NATIVE HAWAIIAN OR OTHER PACIFIC ISLANDER WHITE* TWO OR MORE RACES HISPANIC OR LATINO** NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO
Heating, Air Conditioning,
and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers
0.2% 1.8% 13.9% 0.1% 81.8% 2.4% 30.7% 69.3%
Electricians 0.1% 3.7% 11.8% 0.0% 82.4% 1.9% 26.2% 73.8%
Construction Laborers 0.6% 4.1% 13.0% 0.0% 80.0% 2.3% 51.3% 48.7%
Insulation Workers, Floor,
Ceiling, and Wall
0.6% 2.2% 14.6% 0.0% 79.8% 2.8% 52.9% 47.1%
Plumbers, Pipefitters,
and Steamfitters
0.4% 2.2% 12.0% 0.0% 82.5% 2.8% 31.1% 68.9%
NJ Clean Energy Statewide 0.2% 10.7% 14.5% 0.1% 72.2% 2.3% 20.3% 79.7%

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BACKGROUND

This is the first Building Opportunity: New Jersey report produced by E2 based on analysis of the USEER, which was first released by the DOE in 2016. E2 was an original proponent of the DOE producing the USEER and was a partner on the reports produced by the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI) and National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) after it was abandoned in 2017.

For additional insight into E2’s Building Opportunity: New Jersey report or our other clean energy economic reports, visit e2.org/reports.

An FAQ is available at e2.org/reports/clean-jobs-america-faq

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