What Energy Efficiency Jobs Will Look Like In Ten Years
Energy efficiency has long been cited as the quickest and most affordable way to create jobs, reduce pollution, and expand energy independence. The impact of energy efficiency is huge: in the last four decades, energy efficiency has satisfied more energy demand than oil, gas, and nuclear combined. But energy efficiency doesn’t happen on its own. You need people working day in, day out to create systems that use energy more effectively than ever before.
Nearly every industry is significantly affected by energy efficiency, so there are a lot of energy efficiency jobs out there. In fact, energy efficiency is accounts for more jobs in the U.S.
clean energy economy than any other category. Nationwide, 1.9 million people are employed in jobs directly related to energy efficiency. And energy efficiency jobs are expected to grow substantially over the next decade.
The energy efficiency jobs of the future are just around the corner. But first, let’s take a step back and look at what energy efficiency really means.
What is Energy Efficiency?
Energy efficiency helps industries, entrepreneurs, and even ordinary consumers to squeeze more productivity out of the same amount or less energy than was possible in the past. In essence, energy efficiency is about doing more with less.
One of the most famous examples of a more energy more energy efficient product is the Toyota Prius. As the first mass-market hybrid automobile, the Prius could drive as many miles as its competitors with far less gasoline. Saving money on gasoline and producing less climate pollution were attractive features that drew consumers to make the Toyota Prius a bestseller.
But most energy efficiency innovations are far less flashy than a new car. From washing machines to refrigerators, nearly any appliance you can think of has been improved engineering innovations that massively decrease their energy consumption while maintaining their usefulness to the consumer. And it’s not just machines either – energy efficiency can even mean better insulation of homes and buildings and consultation relating to organization design, behavior modification, and best practices.
Energy Efficiency Jobs Today
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) companies employ engineers, designers, consultants, installers and other workers who create, build and implement energy efficient HVAC systems.
- Energy Star certified appliance factories employ workers who build appliances that use energy far more efficiently than ever before.
- Construction workers and engineers design and install advanced materials and insulation on buildings to make them more energy efficient.
- Weatherization experts work to seal leaks in homes, schools and businesses. This increase energy efficiency and lowers heating and air conditioning bills.
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Consultants advise and lead energy efficiency projects. They develop the most cost-effective strategies possible to to design and/or upgrade high-performance, sustainable buildings and environments. They use tools like integrated energy & daylight modeling air management and monitoring plans, and green housekeeping rules to reduce both initial and lifecycle energy costs, check that all energy-consuming equipment is functioning efficiently, and ensure energy is not being wasted through wall and roof assemblies.
Energy Efficiency Jobs in Ten Years
Smart lighting technicians and engineers will harness new technologies to provide illumination for a fraction of the energy current used to power conventional incandescent and fluorescent bulbs and beams. The most promising technology in this field is solid state lighting products including semiconductor and polymer-based light emitting diodes (LEDs). Though solid state lighting technologies are already being implemented in today’s products, 95% of the technology’s potential remains untapped, making this a huge growth area. Using improved electronic design, optics, system intelligence, and advanced materials smart lighting technicians and engineers will apply new lighting technologies on a massive scale.
Many companies and organizations are now working on gridless or “post-grid” electricity generation technologies. Engineers, technicians and installation experts working with gridless electricity technologies could be very popular career paths in ten years. These jobs would help provide a backup when conventional power goes down in times of crisis natural disaster. In addition, they can reduce grid congestion, cut expenses associated with peak energy demand, and strengthen the resiliency of U.S. electricity systems.
The Future is Energy Efficiency
In the past, energy efficiency has been a amazing story of persistent job growth. That will likely continue over the next decade. Technology and heightened demand will augment current jobs and create entirely new ones. If you’re interested in energy efficiency and pollution reduction, it’s an exciting time to be in the market for new solutions.