Groups: Energy efficiency jobs key to rebound

More hiring to fill jobs involving energy efficiency could help drive economic recovery in Colorado and other states, according to an analysis from two organizations advocating for those efforts.

“Greatly expanding energy efficiency efforts benefits America’s business, labor and environmental interests alike,” said Pat Stanton, policy director for E4TheFuture.

Sandra Purohit, the director of federal advocacy at Environmental Entrepreneurs, agreed. “Energy efficiency is a bipartisan issue, and it benefits every state in the country. Help get the more than 300,000 unemployed energy efficiency workers back on the job, and in return they’ll help get our economy back on track.”

According to an analysis released by E4TheFuture and Environmental Entrepreneurs, employment in energy efficiency jobs increased 2.3 percent in 2019 — nearly twice the nationwide job growth of 1.2 percent. Energy efficiency jobs accounted for 28 percent of employment within the energy sector.

Energy efficiency jobs include those involved in manufacturing energy efficient appliances, lighting and windows; constructing or remodeling buildings to make them more energy efficient; and upgrading heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

Colorado ranked third among the states with a 5.1 percent increase in employment in energy efficient jobs in 2019, behind only New Mexico and Nevada.

Environmental Entrepreneurs estimated that out of 62,400 so-called clean energy jobs in Colorado at the beginning of 2020, 36,000 involved energy efficiency.

What was a growing contributor to payrolls in Colorado and elsewhere declined in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, however. As of October, nearly 322,000 energy efficiency workers — about 13.5 percent of the work force nationwide — remained unemployed.

Policies that promote energy efficiency — including federal stimulus measures —  could promote the creation of more than 700,000 jobs a year for five years, according to the E4TheFuture and E2 analysis.