Executive Director, Efficiency Canada
While it is often overlooked as a sector in the traditional sense, energy efficiency presents promising opportunities for well-paid, fulfilling careers and a role in addressing the climate crisis.
Sarah Arsenault in Fredericton is the marketing and communications manager for Naveco Power. Fellipe Falluh started his own business called Retrofit Construction in Montreal. Thivya Viswanathan is an energy analyst with the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, helping tourism businesses lower their greenhouse gas emissions and energy bills. What do they each have in common?
They are all working in the growing energy efficiency sector, which already employs more than 436,000 people across Canada. While many energy efficiency jobs, such as laying insulation or installing HVAC systems, are in the building and construction industries, there are also opportunities for entrepreneurs, marketers, designers, programmers, policy professionals, sustainability advocates and many others in efficiency-driving sectors including manufacturing, wholesale trade, professional services, and utilities.
Along with providing good, stable jobs — jobs that are usually local and can’t be outsourced — the sector could provide almost 40% of our energy needs by 2050 by harnessing the power of the energy we don’t use, which is essential to helping Canada combat climate change and reach its goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Efficiency Canada mobilizing energy efficiency sector
Efficiency Canada is the national voice for an energy efficient economy, researching strong energy efficiency policies, communicating the value of the energy efficiency sector, and mobilizing the sector to take action. Corey Diamond, Executive Director of Efficiency Canada, says maximizing the benefits of energy efficiency will lead to a sustainable environment and a productive economy.
“Energy efficiency is about using less energy to achieve the same, or better, energy services. We want the services of warmth, light, mobility, and productivity. It doesn’t make sense to pay the economic and environmental costs of energy waste,” Diamond says. “Energy efficiency contributes to more comfortable and more durable buildings, more productive workforces, and competitive industry.”
“It takes a lot of people to make that happen. These are people who design, build, and retrofit buildings, install better equipment, and help make industrial processes more productive.”
The energy efficiency sector is growing so fast that it’s hard to find qualified workers to fill the growing number of jobs. In fact, according to an ECO Canada report, 70% of employers had difficulty finding qualified applicants. There are numerous opportunities for well-paying, interesting, fulfilling careers in the sector.
Strong workforce needed to scale up energy efficiency
“With Canada officially committing to a net zero emissions economy by 2050, we need to do more to attract and develop a strong workforce to scale up energy efficiency. Across the country, this will mean more opportunities for people to enter the workforce to help implement energy efficiency programs,” says Diamond. “At the same time, homeowners and small businesses will save money that they can re-invest into other less wasteful practices.”
An earlier Efficiency Canada report forecasts that the energy efficiency measures in the federal government’s Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change would help boost Canada’s GDP by 1% over the next 14 years, with economic activity associated with energy efficiency creating an annual average of 118,000 jobs between 2017 and 2030.
“It’s a strong energy efficiency workforce that will help power this economic growth, create healthier homes and buildings, and lead the fight against global climate change,” says Diamond.
“There are so many great stories of people in the energy efficiency sector,” he says. “These stories highlight a sector that is making a strong contribution to Canada’s economy, while being on the frontlines of addressing the climate crisis.”
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