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Energy Efficiency

Published on May 11th, 2017 | by Tina Casey


Energy Sec’y Rick Perry Won’t Stop Hilariously Trolling His Own Deputy, Now With Energy Efficiency

May 11th, 2017 by  

The Trump Administration installed a fossil fuel fan to lead the Energy Department’s clean tech office back on May 1, but that hasn’t stopped the agency from making a hard pitch for renewables and energy efficiency. The relentless flood of clean tech news hit an especially hot spot just yesterday with a new blog article under the title “4 Technologies Driving Energy Efficiency Jobs.”

CleanTechnica has previously noted that Energy Secretary Rick Perry has been regularly undercutting Trump’s pro-coal messaging and he almost seems to be pointing and laughing over at the White House. This new article is a case in point.

Trump Paris energy efficiency renewables

Everybody Loves Energy Star

The good news about energy efficiency jobs comes at a particularly fraught time for President Trump, and not only because the Russian Federation just humiliated him on the world stage with an exclusive photo op at the White House.

What really makes the blog article pop out is the fact that just last week news resurfaced that Trump wants to ditch the popular Energy Star energy efficiency program, which sets standards for appliances and buildings.

Energy Star is a joint effort by the Energy Department and the Environmental Protection Agency. It’s been around for about 20 years and it’s a big deal for the appliance and building industries as well as a boon to consumers and property owners.

News of Trump’s disaffection for Energy Star broke last March and the issue heated up all over again on May 2 when Steven Benen of The Maddow Blog reminded everybody that Trump properties are notoriously low on the EnergyStar rankings for buildings. In other words, the Trump family business has a bottom line incentive to kill off the program.

Yale Environment 360 also chipped in last week on May 4 with a long article detailing exactly why Energy Star has been so popular and successful — and reminding everybody all over again about Trump properties’ low rankings in big, red letters:

Energy Star Trump properties low ranking


Rick Perry Hearts Energy Efficiency

Considering all this controversy, one would assume that Trump’s own Energy Secretary would play defense — and, one would be wrong.

Although EPA Chief Scott Pruitt seems more than happy to blow up his own agency, Perry has gone in the opposite direction. The Energy Department has been cheerleading non-stop for renewables and clean tech with a flood of press releases, and Perry has backed that up with missives from his own @SecretaryPerry Twitter account.

All that activity didn’t stop when the Trump Administration — apparently without a heads up to Perry — appointed fossil fuel lobbyist Daniel Simmons to head EERE, the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

In fact, the joke appears to be on Trump. Although Simmons’s bio is now on the Energy Department website, Perry never did get around to providing him with an official welcome (if you spot something, correct me in the comment thread!).

News of Simmons’s appointment leaked on May 1, and by May 5 CleanTechnica took note that if anything, the Energy Department ramped up its efforts to promote all sorts of clean tech programs — even if the news isn’t all that new.

The latest example occurred just yesterday (May 10), when EERE — yes, Simmons’s own fiefdom — cranked out the “4 Technologies Driving Energy Efficiency Jobs” article under its own blog.

4 Technologies Driving Energy Efficiency Jobs

So, let’s take a look at that blog article.

The article draws from the Energy Department’s 2017 Energy and Employment Report, which was published all the way back at the beginning of January (for the record, CleanTechnica covered the report on January 16).

So yes, this is not new news.

The article starts off with brief props for the growth of renewable energy jobs, and then it launches straight into energy efficiency:

…as businesses and home owners increasingly seek cost savings on their utility bills, a large portion of energy jobs today – almost a third in fact – are focused on efficiency.

More than 133,000 energy efficiency jobs were added in 2016, bringing the total number of Americans working in the sector to 2.2 million people. More than half of those jobs (1.4 million) are in the construction industry alone.

Who knew?

Without naming names, the article quickly moves on to a pitch for the job-creating aspect of the Energy Star program:

More than a quarter of the energy efficiency workforce (552,000 workers) is related to efficient appliances, including high efficiency heating and cooling equipment. That’s a 58% increase from 2015.

The article notes that the HVAC workforce of 52,000 strong is still largely embedded in conventional services, but “part of their work is also dedicated to high efficiency technologies.”

Jobs in advanced building materials also add to the energy efficiency employment pot. According to the report, a total of 446,000 people work in fields related to insulation, next-generation windows and other technologies.

Energy efficiency lighting is another big contributor, with 327,000 workers employed.

The article also takes the opportunity to underscore that the Energy Department works with private sector companies — you know, the job creators — to push the envelope on energy efficiency.

The agency’s Oak Ridge National laboratory, for example, is working with Emerson Climate Technologies on a high efficiency heat pump, and the company Pixelligent has received federal funds to speed up the commercialization of organic LED lighting.

Then there’s this tidbit from the article:

DOE-backed research in solid-state lighting has yielded more than 260 patents and a significant industry footprint, with literally millions of products currently on the market based, at least in part, on these technical advancements. These products are estimated to have contributed to more than $2.8 billion in savings for consumers and businesses – an impressive return on an investment of about $350 million.

So, now that Trump’s own Energy Department has weighed in with a solid pitch for energy efficiency, what comes next?

Stay tuned.

Featured image (screenshot): via US Department of Energy.



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About the Author

specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.

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