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Energy Efficiency: When Less (Energy) Equals More (Jobs)

“Energy efficiency is an excellent, bipartisan and affordable way to immediately grow our economy and create the kind of jobs the 21st century economy demands. The bipartisan energy efficiency plan Senator Portman and I have introduced will help address our country’s energy needs in a way that boosts our economy and also saves taxpayers dollars.” ~Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D–NH)

We’re all familiar with having to do more with less in these troubled economic times. But less can equal more – especially when “less” means wasting less energy and “more” means new jobs here in America. And just when you thought bipartisanship was dead, there is a new bipartisan bill in Congress that promises to do more with less.

According to Energy Manager Today, “When Congress reconvenes this month, the Senate will debate the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness (ESIC) Act (S. 1392), introduced by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D–NH) and Rob Portman (R–OH).”

Clean Technica describes the bill as “…a more moderate version of similar legislation from the pair of Senators in 2011 and promotes energy efficiency across the US economy through a mix of building codes, financing and rebates, voluntary labeling, and technical assistance. If enacted, the bill would target improvements in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors, which represented two-thirds of 2011 US energy-use emissions.”

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) researched the potential for both energy savings and new jobs creation in the core bill and select amendments. They found that “If Group A becomes law, an increasingly likely outcome, America’s about to get a massive clean energy kick-start. By 2020 net annual consumer savings will be $2.3 billion, climbing to $14.7 billion by 2030. Cumulative investment will be around $10.9 billion in 2020 and $67.2 billion by 2030 – almost all of it coming from the private sector.”

Impact of Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill
Source: ACEEE via Clean Technica

As for the jobs, ACEEE concludes: “Group A passage would support 70,000 new green jobs in 2020, 143,000 jobs in 2025, and 172,000 jobs in 2030. While many of these positions will be directly related to construction and manufacturing, a significant number will be created as wages and consumer savings spill over into the wider economy.”

At Ecotech Institute, we recently unveiled an enhanced Associate of Applied Science degree program in Energy Efficiency. Starting in 2014, Ecotech Energy Efficiency (EE) students will be utilizing a new on-site $40,000 EE lab that helps prepare students for Building Performance Institute (BPI) certification. (Current students are utilizing a third-party lab.) BPI is “the nation's premier standards development and credentialing organization for residential energy efficiency retrofit work” (

Ecotech’s EE students already know that saving energy saves money and that Energy Efficiency workers are in current demand. With the possible passage of ESIC, there could be even more job opportunities awaiting new students when they graduate in two years.

“Recently, I introduced the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness (ESIC) Act (S.761) with Senator Shaheen (D-NH). The bill will make our economy more productive and create jobs by incentivizing the use of energy efficiency technologies in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors of our economy. Existing efficiency initiatives have already saved taxpayers more than $300 billion in energy bills and have reduced national energy use substantially. Our bipartisan bill takes efficiency to the next level through a variety of low-cost tools to encourage the use of efficiency technologies that will reduce costs for businesses and consumers, while making America more energy independent.” ~Senator Rob Portman (R-OH)

Kyle Crider is Program Chair at Ecotech Institute and Education Corporation of America. He holds a Master of Public Administration degree with a double-emphasis in Urban Planning & Policy Analysis. He is also a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional, Neighborhood Development (LEED AP ND). He is currently in the Interdisciplinary Engineering Ph.D. Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and not necessarily those of Ecotech Institute or Education Corporation of America. Email Kyle at