Energy Efficiency Jobs Flourish in Fla., Massive Potential for More
Florida, the Sunshine State, might better be named after its dedication to energy efficiency. When the sun is shining and the humidity levels are soaring, a high-efficiency AC is a lifesaver. At this time of year, hurricane season, having high-impact windows and water barriers to protect your home against potential storm damage and flooding can also make a world of difference if disaster strikes.
In 2018, Florida supported more than 158,600 clean energy jobs (3rd nationally) and over 118,400 energy efficiency jobs (4th nationally), according to the most recent Clean Energy Jobs report by Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2).
Types of Companies Where Energy Efficiency Employees Work
Florida has traditionally had a strong showing of energy efficiency workers, as E2 examined in depth in a 2016 report. The non-partisan group found that nearly half (46.8%) of the state’s energy efficiency employees worked on traditional HVAC-related technologies. Jobs in advanced materials and insulation were the second-highest sector (18%), followed by high-efficiency HVAC systems (11.8%). When examining the establishments by value chain, the largest sector was installation – accounting for roughly 45% of firms. Manufacturing was the second-highest, comprising about two in 10 firms.
Most of these energy efficiency companies are small operations, with more than 60% of them reporting employee numbers between one and five. Florida did have a small showing of larger firms, with two percent of company consisting of 50 to 499 employees. In terms of revenue, energy-efficient technologies made up the greatest percentage, at 58 percent of establishments. Energy-efficient goods and services were the runners up, accounting for 35 percent of business revenue.
The greatest concentration of workers in the energy efficiency sector was Orange County – home to more than 12,200 employees in this sector. The second highest was Miami-Dade County, with over 8,300, followed by Broward County with 7,300+ and Hillsborough at just over 7,000.
The Future of Energy Efficiency Jobs in Florida
The Sunshine State leaves plenty of opportunity for more jobs in the energy efficiency sector, according to new research from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The group reveals that bolstering the state’s energy efficiency policies could lead to an increase of 135,000 jobs by 2030 – more than doubling the amount the state has currently.
Energy efficiency creates jobs directly and indirectly, all while leading to energy bill savings that help the economy thrive. The best way to create these new jobs? Here are the five steps that ACEEE outlines in its report:
- Commit to stronger energy savings goals for Florida utilities: the state ranks poorly when it comes to spending on utility sector electric efficiency programs.
- Embrace state-level appliance standards: by following in California’s footsteps and adopting appliance standards will help remove the least efficient products from the market.
- Upgrade energy codes in homes and commercial buildings: committing to building codes that are just as strong as the national model codes will help make buildings more comfortable and more efficient.
- Promote the use of combined heat and power sources (CHP): by bringing more CHP sources online, Florida can enjoy greater energy savings while encouraging resiliency for critical facilities (hospitals, etc.) in the event of a disaster.
- Collaborate with major cities to benchmark large buildings: benchmarking energy usage helps building owners and operators identify opportunities for efficiency improvements.
Of all the strategies that ACEEE examined, the group found that expanding utility programs would have the greatest employment impact. It is important to note, however, that increasing statewide energy savings strategies will take the commitment from policymakers.
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