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Energy Efficiency Could Drive Big Growth of Manufacturing Jobs — with the Right Policies in Place

With the right policies in place, energy efficiency could be a driver of significant growth of manufacturing jobs in the US, a new report found. Implementing “Buy American” procurement policies and increasing the rate of residential deep retrofits across the US could create more than 170,000 American manufacturing jobs while driving down emissions, according to a new report from BuildingClean.org.

There’s a “tremendous opportunity in making the products we need to make our homes and buildings more energy efficient at a time when America’s manufacturing sector is in need of revitalization and millions of Americans have applied for unemployment during the ongoing pandemic,” says Jason Walsh, president of the BlueGreen Alliance Foundation.

Appliance and HVAC manufacturing show the most potential for growth. At the current estimated retrofit rate of 2%, just strengthening retrofits to full deep retrofits would support 132,000 manufacturing jobs, according to the report. Deep retrofits go beyond basic weatherization and feature exterior continuous insulation, energy-efficient appliances, HVAC and windows.

Adding a Buy American policy to a deep retrofit rate of 2% would create another 20,000 jobs. Increasing the deep retrofit rate to 4% while also enacting a Buy American policy could result in more than 170,000 jobs being created.

“Our nation is long overdue for a massive infrastructure investment, including funds to modernize our existing buildings,” says United Steelworkers 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.”

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