Faces of Energy Efficiency

We hear about the role that oil and natural gas production play in Colorado’s economy all the time. But what if I told you energy efficiency — not oil and gas — is the No. 1 creator of energy jobs across the Southwest?

A net of 67,000 jobs were added to the energy efficiency sector last year — beating out new jobs in oil and natural gas production, electric power generation and other energy industries, according to a 2018 study by Energy Futures Initiative and National Association of State Energy Officials.

The Southwest saw 5,000 energy efficiency-related jobs added in 2017; with Colorado responsible for the largest share of that job bump.  

The research is clear: 2.25 million Americans are already employed in energy efficiency — and that number is growing.

This doesn’t come as a surprise to me; I’m experiencing the energy efficiency success story in real-time at CORE. Not only am I proud to be one of the millions employed in this field, I’m fortunate to work with architects designing net-zero buildings, heating technicians installing high efficiency equipment, and insulation specialists making sure homes are well-insulated and tightly sealed. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to energy efficiency jobs.

One of the best energy gigs? An Energy Analyst at CORE. We enlist the help of five analysts who are among the best in their field. They’re professional, smart, 100% committed to making your home perform better — and so much more.

Steve Barbee, Owner, A Tight House
Hometown: Glenwood Springs
Energy career: 10 years

What inspires you to work in the energy field?
“What I love most about energy work is being a detective at figuring out what might be wrong with a house and coming up with an action plan for how to make it more comfortable and energy efficient. I work in energy because it utilizes all of my skills, education and experience from 40 years in the construction trades. The best part of my job is getting to meet all kinds of people from all walks of life.”

What gets you out of bed in the morning (aside from work)?
“My favorite things when I’m not working are mountain biking, tele-skiing and playing music.”

Rich Backe, Owner, Building Performance Contractors
Hometown: Glenwood Springs
Energy career: 10 years

What inspires you to work in the energy field?
“It feels good to help people to reduce their energy consumption and reduce their bills. Energy efficiency is key to a sustainable future. Eventually renewable energy sources will be the primary form of heating and cooling. Energy efficiency makes this much more attainable for both existing homes and new homes.”

What gets you out of bed in the morning (aside from work)?
“My favorite activities are skiing, biking, swimming and hanging out with my wife. Other activities include: lobbying for health insurance reforms and making our area economically viable for future generations.”

Charles Cady, Owner, Cady & Associates
Hometown: Carbondale
Energy career: 33 years

What inspires you to work in the energy field?
“My inspiration is helping folks save energy, money and increasing their level of comfort. I’ve always been a people person so interacting with all sorts of people in the valley keeps it interesting.”

What gets you out of bed in the morning (aside from work)?
“I still enjoy all of the things that brought me here. Skiing, biking, hiking and especially gardening. The mountains are a special place.”

Scott Mills, Employee, About Saving Heat
Hometown: Carbondale
Energy career: many years

What inspires you to work in the energy field?
“I had my start in energy efficiency as a child. In 1956, pre-air conditioning, my father built our home in Southern California that was super insulated. When I built my own home here in the valley I used my father’s techniques successfully to reduce my energy usage. I knew that simple building techniques could increase comfort and reduce utility bills at the same time without spending a lot of money.”

What gets you out of the bed in the morning (aside from work)?
“When I am not working in attics and crawl spaces, you may find me on my electric bike scouting in Crown Park for Canadian Thistle that I chop down with a ruthless enthusiasm.”

Tyler Sweeney, Owner, Revolution Energy; Residential Solar Consultant, Sunsense Solar
Hometown: Redstone
Energy career: 10 years

What inspires you to work in the energy field?
“A desire for greater sustainability and more conscientious living is the main reason I started working in the efficiency/renewable energy field. In my early twenties I had an intense wilderness experience in the jungles of Central America that left an indelible impression that our planet and resources are fragile and finite. That experience was a harbinger that initiated the charted course, so to speak.”

What gets you out of bed in the morning (aside from work)?
“When I’m not coaxing people to conserve energy and pushing them to generate their own electricity I usually find myself outside somewhere on a trail (or more likely off the trail bushwacking for better or worse). And when I can make the time, the wilds of Central America (or anywhere really) always inspire me. My message is: keep conserving and generate net-positive if all possible people…I gotta help offset my travel carbon debt somehow…”

These are just a few of the many faces of energy efficiency. Think of how many more local, skilled jobs we can create if we all take action to improve the energy efficiency of our homes.

Get an energy assessment (and meet one of our Energy Analysts!), make energy improvements (check out our list of qualified, local contractors), or buy a new ENERGY STAR appliance: you’ll cut greenhouse gas emissions, save on your utility bills, boost our economy and add jobs. It doesn’t get much better than that.

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By |2018-10-30T11:42:29+00:00September 12th, 2018|Blog Feed|

About the Author:

In her role as Community Sustainability Manager at CORE, Sarah Gruen helps individuals, neighborhoods, and municipalities across the Roaring Fork Valley reduce their carbon emissions. Just as climate change affects everyone, Sarah believes that climate action will benefit everyone. In her writing, Sarah reports on our community’s home-grown solutions and the real impact they have on the world. She wants to make sure that everyone has the knowledge to drive powerful change!