Ohio's Green Energy Economy: The Energy Efficiency Industry
Ohio already has more than 1,130 businesses involved in the energy efficiency industry, according to Environment Ohio’s new report titled “Ohio’s Green Energy Economy: the Energy Efficiency Industry.” From home energy raters, to green architects, to retailers of energy efficient products, businesses throughout the state are already contributing to Ohio’s clean energy future.
Key findings of the report:
- At least 52 businesses in Ohio perform energy audits, an important first step in improving the energy efficiency of a home or building. Energy auditors find places where energy can be saved in buildings by looking at a building as an integrated system, and by using an array of tests to find air leaks.
- At least 78 Ohio businesses and community organizations weatherize buildings, which reduces natural gas heating bills by an average of 32 percent by sealing air leaks and improving insulation. Weatherization funds have directly led to new jobs. Since the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 increased funding for low-income weatherization services by five-fold and added a tax credit available to any homeowner for weatherization, Ohio weatherization services have expanded to meet the growing demand.
- At least 109 businesses in the state manufacture energy efficient products, such as insulation, high quality doors and windows, and Energy Star appliances. Energy Star products, such as dishwashers, televisions and furnaces, can save up to 75 percent of the electricity used to run these products compared with standard models. Improving insulation can result in savings of up to 30 percent off a building’s energy bills. Programs that encourage consumers to upgrade their buildings’ efficiency create a surge of replacements and demand for new products, boosting manufacturing.
- At least 215 homebuilders and architecture firms in Ohio design and construct Energy Star-certified homes.
Energy Star new homes typically use 20-30 percent less energy than a standard house, with an incremental cost of only about 2-3 percent of the total cost of the home, which can be rolled into a mortgage for immediate savings. Their expertise in energy efficient building has allowed some of these firms to ride out the housing crash unscathed. For Doty & Miller Architects in Cleveland, which specializes in green buildings, 2007 and 2008 were the firm’s best years in its 30-year history.
- At least 680 stores in Ohio sell energy efficient products and appliances, including outlets of large chains such as Radio Shack and Sears, as well as specialized stores such as those owned by the Air Tight Corporation. Programs such as additional home weatherization funding and the new federal “cash-for appliances” program can create a surge of demand for energy efficient products, bringing new business to stores that sell energy efficient products.