A recent report by BuildingClean.org found that increasing clean energy efforts combined with Buy American policies could create more than 170,000 manufacturing jobs in clean energy. Specifically, the implementation of deep energy retrofits will be a game changer for the environment and manufacturing.
A deep energy retrofit is defined as a whole-building construction process that aims at achieving on-site energy use minimization in a building by 50% or more compared to the baseline energy use (calculated using past utility bills) making use of existing technologies, materials and construction practices.
The report, titled Manufacturing Efficiency: How Buy America Policy Can Boost Jobs Manufacturing Energy-Efficient Products, compared the manufacturing job creation potential of strengthening all retrofits to full deep retrofits, increasing the retrofit rate, and implementing Buy American policies.
“Manufacturing is well recognized as a galvanizing force for community building, in addition to sustaining American innovation and competitiveness.,” states the report. “Manufacturing jobs pay above average wages, especially for jobs that don’t require college degrees.”
“Our nation is long overdue for a massive infrastructure investment, including funds to modernize our existing buildings,” said United Steelworkers (USW) International President Tom Conway. “Using American-made materials as we upgrade our homes and businesses will not only ensure that they are safer and more efficient, but will also create good, union manufacturing jobs, helping rebuild our battered economy and laying the foundation for a brighter future for all.”
The report’s main finding was that with the right policies in place, energy efficiency could be a major driver of manufacturing jobs in the U.S.
The study found that increasing demand for American-made energy-efficient housing products through Buy American policies and deep retrofits will boost job creation in manufacturing, with appliance and HVAC manufacturing showing the most growth. At the current estimated retrofit rate of 2%, just strengthening retrofits to full deep retrofits would support 132,000 manufacturing jobs. Adding a Buy American policy to a deep retrofit rate of 2% would create another 20,000 jobs. Finally, the report explored the impact of increasing the deep retrofit rate to 4% while also enacting a Buy American policy. Under this scenario more than 170,000 jobs would be created, according to Abby Harvey of the BlueGreen Alliance Foundation.
“Finally,” concluded the study. “It is vital to focus on making sure that the manufacturing jobs created provide a livable wage, good benefits, proper training, and safe working conditions.”