Schneider Electric, which leads the digital transformation of energy management and automation, and Boston University, a leading international educational institution, published a new report investigating the effects of the adoption of clean energy technologies in buildings on employment. According to this research conducted by Boston University Global Sustainability Institute (IGS) and Schneider Electric Sustainability Research Institute (SRI), the sustainability-oriented transformation of buildings with new technologies has the potential to create more than 2 million new job opportunities in Europe and the United States. The journey to net zero buildings is expected to create more than 141 million job years.
The research paper titled “Building a Green Future: Examining the Job Creation Potential of Electricity, Heating and Storage in Low Carbon Buildings” is the first study to address the job creation potential of new generation low carbon buildings at such a detailed level. From a micro-scale perspective, the research examines global employment outcomes for low-carbon building models covering residential, hospital, hotel, office, retail and education spaces in North America, Europe and Asia. The data focuses specifically on the potential for using rooftop solar panels, heat pumps and energy storage batteries for consumer-generated renewable energy sources. These low-carbon technologies, easily accessible today, support the electrification and digitalization of the building sector, which is critical for reducing greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale. Related employment forecasts were prepared in line with a timeline for 100% renovation of buildings, in line with the 2050 global net zero targets.
Vincent Petit, Senior Vice President of Climate and Energy Transition Research and SRI Manager at Schneider Electric; “Thanks to modern technologies, it is possible to quickly transform buildings to net zero, and this brings not only environmental but also socioeconomic benefits. With this research, we address the impact of this technology-oriented transformation on employment, which has not been talked about much until now. “Thus, we make visible the multi-layered benefits of sustainability-oriented transformation,” he said.
The prominent findings are as follows:
- Job creation potential was examined both by region and building type. Accordingly, for residential buildings, approximately 0.05 jobs per building can be created. For commercial buildings, this figure varies between 0.3 and 4.7. Considering the combined number of residential and commercial buildings, the job creation potential of this transformation exceeds the millions.
- When this potential is examined on a country basis in Europe; It is anticipated that 295,000 jobs will be created in France, 257,000 in Germany, 252,000 in Italy, 247,000 in the UK, 212,000 in Spain and 66,000 in the Netherlands.
- Significant job creation is expected in various regions of the United States, with significant growth forecast for 319,000 new jobs, especially in the South and Southeast regions.
- The greatest employment creation potential comes from the installation of heat pumps and battery storage for large buildings in regions and building types with high solar energy potential.
- The largest share of employment for heat pumps, solar PV and batteries comes from construction and installation.
- The research also supports two new findings from Schneider Electric showing that carbon emissions reductions of over 60% can be achieved when implementing these low-carbon solutions, and up to 70% when implementing digital building and power management solutions in existing office buildings.
The research, conducted in collaboration with Schneider Electric and Boston University, reveals the multi-layered effects of building transformation processes and plays an important resource role for institutions and governments’ investments in this field. Understanding the contribution that the transition to net zero buildings will make to employment also supports and encourages the transition to green energy.