Some 900 thousand people were employed in work relating to the supply of energy efficient goods and services in 2010, according to a new study entitled ‘assessing the employment and social impact of energy efficiency’.
The study, published in December 2015, found that the sectors with the greatest levels of energy efficiency jobs were those that produce, or are part of the supply chain for, investment goods. This includes jobs in the manufacturing of the machinery and equipment that enables the production of energy efficient goods, as well as the energy efficient goods themselves.
Looking to the future, the study found that more jobs could be created in the manufacturing and installation of energy efficient products, in particular since it is a relatively labour intensive activity. It also found that opportunities for new jobs are greatest in the buildings and transport sectors.
In the transport sector, the manufacturing of electric or hybrid cars will create jobs and demand for new skills for example in the production of car batteries, specific maintenance skills and emission control engineers. Even more job creation could be linked to the export potential of such cars, the study said.
The construction sector is also expected to be a major source of both low-skilled and high-skilled jobs related to energy efficiency. There will be demand for new skills in handling new materials and technologies, sustainable construction processes, planning, management and the calculation of carbon footprints, for example.
In general, there will be demand for high-skilled workers in jobs which involve auditing, consulting, organisation and consultation, such as managers of major building projects. When it comes to building a skilled workforce, science, technology, engineering and mathematics will be key due to the technological nature of many of the occupations.
The study pointed out that while there is a great potential for energy efficiency jobs in construction, it may be difficult to train the workforce in the necessary skills due to the high levels of self-employment in the sector. The potential lack of skills in the sector could slow the take-up of energy efficiency measures, the study warned.
The study also pointed out the existence of other reports which show increases in the value of buildings as a result of improved energy efficiency. In the US, values of buildings with energy performance certificates can be 10-16% higher than comparable non-certified buildings, according to the study.
The study was carried out by Cambridge Econometrics.