Industry Often in the Shadows Drives $1.5B in Revenue and 75,000 Jobs
Richmond, Virginia (May 19, 2017) — Virginia’s economy is stronger thanks to the role of energy efficiency, according to a new report released today by the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council (VAEEC) that finds the industry drives $1.5B in annual revenue and accounts for more than 75,000 jobs. The full report, “Why Energy Efficiency is a Smart Investment for Virginia,” is available at www.vaeec.org/data and was presented at the VAEEC spring meeting in Richmond. The report lays out five specific policy recommendations that will not only help the industry continue to grow but will also play a role in future carbon reduction strategies the Commonwealth may pursue.
“With uncertainty about the future of energy efficiency policies and resources at the federal level, it is more important than ever for states to recognize the enormous potential of energy efficiency to advance smart energy solutions,” said Chelsea Harnish, VAEEC Executive Director. “The VAEEC’s 80+ members prove to us everyday that energy efficiency has tremendous potential to drive economic growth, create jobs, shrink utility bills, conserve natural resources, and reduce pollution. Our report outlines an ambitious plan to tap that potential.”
In 2013, the VAEEC released the first-ever census report documenting the energy efficiency industry in the Commonwealth. Our newest report shows that revenue generated from the energy efficiency sector has grown from nearly $300 million in 2013 to $1.5 billion in 2016. The U.S. Department of Energy has found that the industry is responsible for 75,000 jobs across the state.
The report offers five policy recommendations, specifically addressed to the incoming Governor, deemed “the smartest, fastest, most effective routes we can take to put Virginia on the path toward a clean energy future and stronger economy.” They are:
- Expand utility energy efficiency program opportunities in Virginia
- Support the adoption of Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) financing across the Commonwealth
- Adopt rigorous energy building codes for new home construction without weakening amendments
- Expand performance-based contracting for state-owned buildings and public institutions of higher education
- Provide and support opportunities for benchmarking of state, local and commercial buildings
According to the most recent update to the Virginia Energy Plan, each of these policy recommendations are critical for Virginia to meet our energy efficiency goal of 10% electricity savings by 2022. The final report from the Executive Order 57 Working Group, which was released this week as well, also highlights the the important role energy efficiency can play in reducing carbon pollution. Two of the five recommendations made by the Working Group are specific to the energy efficiency industry: 1) Updating state building codes to reflect current technology and standards and 2) Developing an energy efficiency accounting and registry tool.
The report pairs each recommendation with a case study of that policy in action, including:
- Project:HOMES weatherized a veterans housing complex in Richmond through Dominion’s Energy Share program
- The Virginia Center for Housing Research at Virginia Tech found that multi-family apartments that were built to EarthCraft, above building code, standards saved families $650 a year.
- The Virginia Department of Corrections integrated Energy Performance Contracting into their building operations to cut costs
- A Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financed project at a retirement community in neighboring Kentucky is expected to achieve 37% energy savings
- In Arlington County, commercial property owners participated in a voluntary benchmarking program competition, which resulted in millions of dollars in cost savings
“This report should open a dialogue among energy efficiency stakeholders, policymakers, regulators, businesses, and local and state government agencies about how best to augment the implementation of energy efficient technologies and services,” said David Steiner of D+R International and Chair of the VAEEC Board of Directors. “The many benefits to consumers, property owners, ratepayers, local and state governments, and industry warrant aggressive adoption of best practices to implement energy efficiency throughout the Commonwealth, from the kitchen electrical outlet to the power grid.”
Contact: Chelsea Harnish, VAEEC, 804.457.8619