Report: Energy Efficiency leads Ill. job growth, outpaces nationwide growth

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 16, 2019

CONTACT: Michael Timberlake—(202) 289-2407, mtimberlake@e2.org; Patrick Mitchell—(703) 276-3266, pmitchell@hastingsgroup.com;

REPORT: Energy Efficiency Leads Ill. Job Growth, Outpaces Nationwide Growth

Industry now employs 89,400 Illinoisans; grew 2.1% in 2018

  • 29% of Ill. energy workers are employed by energy efficiency businesses
  • Top 10 States for EE Jobs: Calif., Texas, N.Y., Fla., Ill., N.C., Mass., Mich., Ohio, Va.
  • 41 states, including Ill., employ more workers in energy efficiency than fossil fuels

LOS ANGELES – Energy efficiency is the fastest-growing segment of U.S. energy-sector employment, now employing more than 2.3 million Americans—including 89,469 in Illinois— according to a new analysis from E4TheFuture and the national, nonpartisan business group E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs). Energy efficiency workers now account for 29 percent of all energy workers in Illinois, and 28 percent nationally.

The new report, Energy Efficiency Jobs in America, finds energy efficiency jobs grew 3.4 percent nationally in 2018 –more than double the rate of growth for overall jobs nationwide — with 7.8% growth projected for 2019. In Illinois, employers added over 2,500 jobs for a 2.1 percent growth rate in 2018 while statewide employment increased 0.9 percent. The overall national employment growth rate in 2018 was 1.5 percent.

Among states, California led the nation in energy-efficiency employment with 318,500 jobs, followed by Texas (162,800), New York (123,300), Florida (118,400), and Illinois (89,400).  Thirteen states saw efficiency jobs increase by more than five percent in 2018, led by New Mexico (11.6%), Nevada (8.1%), Oklahoma (7.2%), Colorado (7.2%), and New Jersey (7.1%). Not a single state saw declines in energy efficiency employment in 2018.

The report, released at the annual meeting of the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) in Manhattan Beach, California, highlights energy efficiency’s continued economic importance.

“While politicians argue over the direction of our energy transition, the economic benefits of improving energy efficiency continue to unite America’s business and environmental interests,” said Pat Stanton, Director of Policy at E4TheFuture. “Not only is expanding America’s energy efficiency key to solving multiple climate policy goals, it is now integral to businesses’ expansion plans – saving money and creating local jobs that cannot be outsourced.”

Efficiency businesses added 76,000 net new jobs in 2018, accounting for half of all net jobs added by America’s energy sector (151,700). The sector also employed twice the number of workers in 2018 as all fossil fuel industries combined (1.18 million) and in 41 states, including Illinois, energy efficiency employs more workers than fossil fuels. There are now more than 360,000 energy efficiency businesses operating across the U.S., including 15,000 in Illinois.

“We all know energy efficiency saves consumers and businesses money with every month’s power bill,” said Bob Keefe, executive director of E2. “We should also remember that energy efficiency is creating jobs and driving economic growth in every state – and doing so while also helping our environment, not hurting it.”

Energy efficiency jobs include positions in manufacturing, such as building ENERGY STAR® appliances, efficient windows and doors and LED lighting systems. They include jobs in construction – retrofitting buildings, offices and schools to make them more efficient. Efficiency careers are found in high-tech design and software and professional services, as well as at the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) companies that upgrade outdated inefficient HVAC systems, boilers, ductwork and other equipment.

Energy efficiency jobs aren’t limited by geography, geology or political persuasion. There are workers in energy efficiency in every state and in virtually every U.S. county, the report shows. Illinois is home to 9,900 of the nation’s 317,000 rural energy efficiency jobs while the Chicago metro area accounts for 62,700.

Looking at legislative districts, all 18 Illinois congressional districts are home to at least 2,000 energy efficiency jobs. In the state legislature, 31 of the state’s 59 senate districts along with 32 house districts had over 1,000 energy efficiency jobs.

“State energy officials understand that energy efficiency and the jobs that come with it is an integral and important part of the overall economy,” said David Terry, Executive Director at NASEO, which provides research support for the underlying data behind Energy Efficiency Jobs in America“Policymakers at the state and federal levels will hopefully keep the size and reach of energy efficiency employment in mind as they plan for the future.”

More detailed findings of energy efficiency jobs for Illinois and all 50 states and the District of Columbia – including job totals for every congressional and legislative district, industry and technology breakdowns, and maps of every state’s top counties — are at e2.org/eejobsinamerica. A set of FAQs about the report is here.

Other key findings:

  • Construction and manufacturing make up more than 70% of US. energy efficiency jobs
  • Energy efficiency jobs account for 18% of all construction jobs in Illinois and more than one out of every six construction jobs nationally (1.3 million workers total)
  • More than 10,600 Illinois energy efficiency businesses are involved in construction or manufacturing
  • Nationwide, 321,000 energy efficiency jobs are in manufacturing
  • Efficient lighting technologies employ 370,000 workers nationwide
  • Energy-efficient heating, ventilation, and cooling technologies employ 59,700 Illinois workers and over 1.1 million nationwide
  • ENERGY STAR appliances and efficient lighting firms employed 13,000 Illinoisans in 2018
  • Energy efficiency employers are projecting 7.8% job growth nationwide in 2019
  • Small businesses are driving America’s energy efficiency job boom, with 79% of Illinois workers employed by businesses with fewer than 20 total workers

Ahead of Energy Efficiency Day 2019 on October 2, E2 and E4TheFuture will host an online panel discussion on Energy Efficiency Jobs in America 2019 featuring Keefe, Stanton, and the authors of the report from BW Research Partnership. To register and attend the free event on October 1, click here.

Energy Efficiency Jobs in America follows E2’s Clean Jobs America analysis, which found that clean energy jobs account for nearly 3.3 million jobs across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Both reports expand on data from the 2019 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER) produced by the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI) in partnership with NASEO, using data collected and analyzed by BW Research Partnership. The report was released in March, and is available at www.usenergyjobs.org. E2 and E4TheFuture were both partners on the USEER, the fourth installment of the energy survey first released by the Department of Energy in 2016 and subsequently abandoned under the Trump administration.

To speak with business leaders around the country who support strong investments in energy efficiency and their impact on America’s economy, please contact Michael Timberlake (mtimberlake@e2.org), Patrick Mitchell (pmitchell@hastingsgroup.com).

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E4TheFuture works for clean, efficient and safe energy solutions. A nonprofit organization, we promote energy efficiency, renewables, demand management, energy storage and electric vehicles to advance climate protection and economic fairness. We work to achieve an energy economy that is sustainable, lower cost, and resilient. Our “Faces of EE” initiative shines a light on energy efficiency professionals nationwide. Visit www.E4TheFuture.org or follow us on Twitter at @E4TheFuture and @FacesofEE.

Environmental Entrepreneurs (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. For more information, see www.e2.org or follow us on Twitter at @e2org.