Ten things you might not know about the U.S. renewable-energy and energy-efficiency industries.
Renewable energy and energy efficiency are becoming fast-growing business in the U.S., according to a new report (http://www.ases.org/press/2007_jobs_report.htm) from the American Solar Energy Society (ASES). Just how big? Consider these 10 facts from the report:
Businesses related to renewable energy and energy efficiency employed 8.5 million people in 2006 and generated more revenues — nearly $1 trillion — than Wal-Mart, Exxon-Mobil and General Motors put together.
During that same year, renewable-energy and energy-efficiency industries earned more than $100 billion in profits and generated some $150 billion in tax revenues for local, state and federal government.
With aggressive support from the government, the U.S. market for renewable energy and energy-efficient products could grow to $4.5 trillion in revenues by 2030; under that project, green industries could employ up 40 million people — about 1 out of every 4 employees in the U.S.
As of 2006, only 6 percent of the U.S. energy was supplied by renewable sources, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Of that amount, nearly half came from both biofuels and hydroelectric power (47 percent and 45 percent, respectively), with another 5 percent coming from geothermal power, 2 percent from wind energy and 1 percent from solar energy.
The most recent figures available find that some 15 percent of the new vehicles sold in the U.S. are classified as small or hybrid. That means the market for energy-efficient vehicles generated about $73 billion in annual sales.
About 1.6 percent of all non-residential buildings and 8 percent of multi-family buildings in the U.S. market are LEED-certified, which means they meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council. Nationwide, about 2 percent of all new housing starts were green homes, although those figures are higher in states like New York and Washington, where between 5 to 10 percent of new homes could be considered green.
U.S. households have adopted a varying range of energy-efficient, Energy Star-rated appliances; fewer than 5 percent of households use compact fluorescent lights, but some 40 percent have energy-efficient dishwashers.
More than 90 percent of the computers, copiers and fax machines used by U.S. businesses are believed to be energy-efficient, Energy Star rated devices. The percentage of industrial heating, ventilation and cooling equipment that’s energy efficient is just over 30 percent.
Biodiesel fuel could help reduce petroleum diesel consumption by about 5 percent in the near to mid-future, according to the National Biodiesel Board.
The Renewable Fuels Association predicts ethanol production will rise to between 14 billion and 15 billion gallons annually in the mid-term future. By 2030, the group expects that 30 percent of our vehicle fuels could come from renewable sources.