News Column

10,000 Jobs in Ohio Tied to Energy Efficiency

Oct. 30, 2012

Dan Gearino

Ohio has nearly 10,000 people whose jobs involve improving energy efficiency, and their work generates $2.1 billion in annual sales, according to a new report.

Central Ohio accounts for nearly 20 percent of that total, both in jobs and revenue, according to the report, produced by Advanced Energy Economy, a nonprofit trade group that promotes efficient energy use. The group is releasing the study today to coincide with a conference it is hosting in Columbus.

"I think the jobs numbers are, if anything, conservative," said John Seryak, CEO of Go Sustainable Energy in Clintonville.

At his company, all nine employees advise clients about how to use less energy. At larger firms, though, the report counts only the employees and sales directly related to energy efficiency.

Among the major players in central Ohio are research institutions such as Battelle and the Edison Welding Institute. The list also includes smaller ventures such as Seryak's company.

He hopes that businesses will realize that energy efficiency is a concept that is important to buyers and sellers of goods and services. This can range from manufacturers whose products use less energy to their customers, who stand to save money by buying the products. This also applies to a wide array of research and consulting companies that help households and businesses.

Northeastern Ohio is home to about 50 percent of the jobs and annual revenue in the report, largely because of the strong presence of manufacturers in the region.

For some perspective, the nearly 10,000 energy-efficiency jobs in Ohio represent a fraction of 1 percent of the state's 5.2 million nonfarm jobs, but account for a sector similar in size to the mining and logging industries, which employ 11,500, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics figures.

The trade group's report covers jobs in 13 sectors, including those related to high-efficiency boilers, cooling systems for data centers and lighting systems.

"We know energy is directly linked to Ohio's economy and that energy efficiency plays a critical role in reducing the cost of business for Ohio companies," Michelle Murcia, president of the Advanced Energy Economy Ohio Institute, said in a statement. "Now, from this report, we also know the efficiency industry is a significant driver of Ohio's economy."

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