Even as the Trump administration rewrites or shuts down web content acknowledging the risks of climate change and the benefits of renewable energy, the U.S. Department of Energy published a post earlier this month touting four key technologies driving job creation in the energy efficiency sector.
“When you think of energy jobs, you may first picture someone fixing a wind turbine or installing a solar panel,” energy.gov states, and “these jobs are certainly on the rise.” But with 133,000 new positions in 2016, and more than 2.2 million overall, the agency points to energy-efficient appliances, heating and cooling, advanced building materials, and lighting as areas that are driving employment across the U.S.
Just over 550,000 people are employed in producing energy-efficient appliances, including heating and cooling, and another 520,000 work in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC). The energy.gov site makes no mention of White House plans to gut the Energy Star standard that has underpinned much of the job creation in the sector. But it states that DOE “continues to push the envelope on innovation across a range of common appliances – from high-performance refrigerators to more efficient air conditioners—with the ultimate goal of keeping more money in consumers’ pockets.”
Advanced building materials, from windows to building envelope technologies, produced 446,000 U.S. jobs last year, the agency states, and “DOE-backed research continues to develop new materials and methods to improve insulation and windows, including innovative sprayable insulation and new smart window coatings.”
And 327,000 jobs show up in an energy-efficient lighting industry that has delivered US$2.8 billion in consumer and business savings for a $350-million investment. “DOE-backed research in solid-state lighting has yielded more than 260 patents and a significant industry footprint, with literally millions of products currently on the market based, at least in part, on these technical advancements,” the site states.