Energy Efficiency Investments Create Jobs in the Southeast

July 1, 2014 By Karen Henry

SEEAJobs-energy-manageEvery million dollars invested in the Southeast’s energy efficiency sector from 2010 to 2013 resulted in the creation of just over 17 jobs, according to the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA) Energy Pro3 report, “Benchmarking Job Creation in the Southeast.” The independent analysis conducted by the Cadmus Group studied job creation impacts from the SEEA’s three-year, 13-city, US Department of Energy (DOE)-funded energy efficiency retrofit consortium program.

The report compares the actual jobs created through energy efficiency programs to jobs that would have been created through investments of the same magnitude in each of the following sectors:

  • Trade and services.
  • Construction.
  • Renewables.
  • Energy generation, distribution and transmission.
  • Manufacturing.

The analysis found that the energy efficiency sector outperformed all of these sectors in job creation results. As part of its analysis, the Cadmus Group also generated “labor income” numbers for the investment made in energy efficiency programs, as well as for the same level of investment modeled in the benchmarked sectors. Labor income encompasses an employee’s total payroll cost, including wages and salary; benefits; and payroll taxes, as well as income earned by self-employed workers and single proprietors.

Energy efficiency programs produced the strongest labor income numbers, which reflect the “good paying jobs” this sector generates, according to the report. Meanwhile, the trade and services sector, which was also a strong job producer at 17.02 jobs per million dollars invested, substantially lagged the energy efficiency sector in labor income generated.

The report further breaks out actual energy efficiency job creation by southeastern state, finding that Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee produced even stronger job growth than the region as a whole.

While the implementation of energy-efficiency programs varied by state, all participating states saw positive job creation. Top-performing states benefitted at higher levels due to local program administration and spending; the availability of financing for retrofits; consumer education efforts; local market conditions; existing energy efficiency momentum; and the presence of strong marketing support, utility partnerships, and workforce training and development programs.

Energy efficiency programs also have a positive economic impact on the region. The SEEA report “The Economic Impact of Energy Efficiency Investments in the Southeast,” found that every $1 million invested in energy efficiency programs in the region generated $3.87 million in economic output.

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