In the U.S., home and building owners spend more than $400 billion each year on energy costs. Cost-effective energy efficiency upgrades in U.S. buildings could save $100 billion each year in energy bills, translating to an estimated annual savings of $400 for each household with energy-saving upgrades. However, these savings are only possible when knowledgeable workers design the equipment and buildings, provide quality installation, and communicate energy efficiency benefits to buyers. More than two million Americans already work in the building energy efficiency sector, but more than 85% of industry employers report hiring difficulties, with the highest difficulty (95%) reported in the construction sector (2023 USEER). Although the main hiring challenge cited by employers was competition and a small applicant pool, insufficient skills and qualifications, and lack of experience were also top responses.
Workforce development is an important tool to help address those gaps. Workforce development encompasses policies and programs that prepare people with the awareness, support, knowledge, and skills they need to meet the current and future needs of employers. Workforce development is the structure or system within which learning and career development can happen. Although these activities are often led by educators and training professionals, they require the coordination of an ecosystem of stakeholders to be successful.
DOE has collected resources, case studies, and other materials to help identify solutions to address workforce needs. They are organized according to the focus areas identified for the Better Buildings Workforce Accelerator (2020-2023), but are not intended to be all-encompassing.