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ACEEE answers, "What is an energy efficiency job?"


From the February 21, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published February 21, 2013

By Fallon Forbush
Communications Assistant

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has released a report that includes six case studies of real-world experiences in energy efficiency job creation. These profiles show how the American work force draws upon existing skill sets, ACEEE said.

ACEEE’s research found that job opportunities in the "green economy" leverage skill sets that are already abundant in the United States, including work for electricians, heating/air conditioning installers, carpenters, construction equipment operators, roofers, insulation workers, industrial truck drivers, building inspectors, civil engineers, rail track layers, metal fabricators, engine assemblers, production helpers, bus drivers and computer software engineers.

The paper, entitled "Energy Efficiency Job Creation: Real World Experiences," investigates various ways in which smarter energy use is supported and promoted, including policies, partnerships, investments, federal stimulus programs, new technologies and market opportunities. All of these contribute to a work force that supports higher levels of overall employment and a healthier economy, ACEEE said.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "green jobs" include jobs in businesses that produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources. They also include jobs in which workers make production processes more environmentally friendly or use fewer natural resources. These definitions "capture the intuitive idea that there are industries that create jobs through technologies or strategies to improve the health of the environment, but they fall short of capturing the power of investments in energy efficiency to empower a healthier economy that supports higher levels of employment," the report said.

Energy efficiency jobs span a multitude of industries and reverberate over time throughout economies locally, regionally and nationally, ACEEE said.

Each case study in the report "serves as an independent portrait of the various driving forces behind energy efficiency job creation, illustrates the diversity of energy efficiency jobs and demonstrates the extent to which they draw upon Americans’ existing skills and competencies," Casey Bell, ACEEE senior economic analyst, wrote in a blog post.

A partnership between Johnson Controls, Inc. and the Wisconsin Energy Initiative that was profiled in the report created 1,500 annual jobs for more than 50 private-sector companies, including architects, engineers, electricians and maintenance workers.  

Ultimately, the shifting of spending patterns away from capital-intensive energy production and into more labor-intensive sectors—including the majority of sectors where Americans find jobs—is the key to sustaining enduring employment that utilizes the entire range of Americans’ skills and expertise, ACEEE said.

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