Building the Infrastructure
John Hargrove is President and CEO of the Association of Energy Services Professionals. Mike Mernick is a Senior Vice President and the Director of Market Development for ICF's Commercial Energy Division. He has led ICF's Energy Efficiency business since 2006. Mernick assisted his first utility DSM client in 1987, and has served as the senior manager for ICF's support to the U.S. EPA's ENERGY STAR® Residential, Product Labeling, and Commercial and Industrial Programs. Michael Volker serves as the current Chair of the AESP. He is the first representative of a co-op to lead the AESP. Volker serves as Rates and Treasury Manager at East River Electric Power Cooperative. Sara Conzemius is a Founding Advisor and Co-Owner of ILLUME. She has over fifteen years of experience leading the planning, development, and evaluation of residential, renewable, and commercial energy efficiency programs. Conzemius is the immediate past Chair of the Board of Directors for AESP.
Building the Infrastructure
With its roots in the 1970s conservation movement, energy efficiency has grown into a thriving industry today - one that employs many and provides benefits to utilities, consumers, the economy and society in general.
According to a recently released report, "Energy Efficiency Jobs in America " by Environmental Entrepreneurs and E4TheFuture, energy efficiency accounts for about three out of every four American clean energy jobs.
This industry supports almost 1.9 million jobs across the country, and employers are optimistic about future growth in the energy efficiency space, projecting a thirteen percent expansion over 2016. This growth will potentially add two hundred forty-five thousand jobs.
Of the roughly one hundred-sixty-five thousand companies today engaged in energy efficiency, many are small businesses. More than half of those report that most or all of their revenue is driven by energy efficiency.
While the majority of energy efficiency firms sell or install energy efficiency systems, the industry is much more diverse. Business activity is roughly evenly distributed across professional services, manufacturing, engineering and research, and other value chain activities, according to the Environmental Entrepreneurs survey.
In the U.S., California is the leader in energy efficiency jobs, with more than three hundred-twenty thousand workers. They are followed by Florida with a hundred thousand, and Illinois, with eighty-nine thousand.
And for the last several years, even as the so-called jobless recovery marched on, those hiring for some positions in energy efficiency have been vocal about their struggle to find the qualified talent needed to fill these positions.
"For a small company focused entirely on research services in the energy space we have had far more growth than we expected when we launched ILLUME Advising just a few years ago," stated Sara Conzemius, a founder of ILLUME.
"Demand for services has often outpaced our ability to find the type of talent we need for our clients. We are seeing more recent grads and seasoned professionals recognizing that energy services is indeed a real profession. However, there is still a lack of broad awareness surrounding this large and growing industry.
We are constantly seeking talent in