A report earlier this week in the media (a version of which you can read here http://bit.ly/aYtQGU) suggests that the U.S. could add as many as 1.3 million energy efficiency jobs by 2020. The number comes from analysis by the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, no slouch when it comes to these matters. But the report warns that the total number of jobs may be hampered by a lack of training.
I wonder if there isn't another challenge. The great real estate boom and bust of the aughts has left a lot of carpenters and plumbers and electricians without work or without the volume of work they were accustomed to. A quick conversation with Chuck Reiss who recently performed some energy efficiency work at my home (see my last post http://bit.ly/byg8uM) and with Barry Nelson who just installed new Pella windows in our Burlington headquarters (http://bit.ly/ba0OtH) suggests that the challenge may be more prosaic.
Building new homes is relatively clean compared to crawling through attics and basements of older homes, extracting old insulation and applying new foam or blowing in cellulose, say these contractors. Will the current workforce want to make the adjustment?
As Chuck Reiss, who has built his share of highly efficient new homes, said to me recently, its our state's (and by extension, our nation's) older homes that need the work. That's where he sees opportunity. Now if he and Barry can only find the people to do the dirty work.
And, of course, willing homeowners to spend their dollars.