Energy efficiency jobs: Where does Tennessee stand?

New findings of a national energy efficiency report reveal energy efficiency is the largest sector within the U.S. clean energy economy.

According to the report, this sector accounts for three in four of its jobs and employs nearly 1.9 million people nationwide.

The document, entitled “Energy Efficiency Jobs in America,” was released by Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2), E4TheFuture, and BW Research Partnership.

The energy efficiency industry helps customers squeeze more productivity and comfort out of the same amount – or less – energy. Its workers install smart lighting, for example, or seal duct leaks in HVAC systems or insulate walls and ceilings. They also make climate control systems run better or manufacture state-of-the-art appliances.

In short, they figure out how to help homes and businesses run leaner by lowering utility bills.

For the Volunteer State, the report says about 27,500 Tennesseans work in energy efficiency related jobs. The majority of employment is focused on traditional HVAC and renewable and efficiency heating and cooling technologies.

There are also a few thousand workers who support Energy Star appliances, efficient lighting, and advanced material and insulation.

Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 3.26.57 PM

Most firms are either primarily focused on installation or trade. Installation firms account for 45 percent of establishments and trade firms account for a third. 59 percent of these businesses are small, with fewer than 11 permanent employees each.

But Tennessee has representation across medium to large-sized establishments as well. Just over a quarter (27 percent) report 11 to 99 permanent workers, and nine percent note 100 workers or more. 63 percent of firms derive the majority of revenue from this work, with 37 percent noting all of their revenue is attributable to energy efficiency services.

Tennessee ranked 25th in the nation in the 2016 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, moving up six places since the 2015 ranking. The state scored very low in the utilities category because both investments and therefore energy savings are lower than the national average (ACEEE).

When it comes to a county-by-county basis, the following counties had the highest recorded energy efficiency employment.

  1. Shelby county 5,650
  2. Davidson county 5,449
  3. Knox county 3,689
  4. Williamson county 1,768
  5. Rutherford county 1,342
  6. Hamilton county 835
  7. Sumner county 788
  8. Wilson county 715
  9. Blount county 635
  10. Anderson county 627

The following is a graph for Metropolitan Statistical Areas. (MSAs)

Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 4.07.25 PM

Here is a graph comparing energy efficiency employment to the corresponding congressional districts in numerical order.

Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 4.08.28 PM

Energy Mentor Network Spotlight: Kevin Christopher

The Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council will be writing a series of feature stories giving startups a better idea of who the mentors are behind the Energy Mentor Network program offering industry specific expertise.

The Energy Mentor Network‘s goal is to foster the growth of Tennessee advanced energy technologies and startups by connecting entrepreneurs with mentors. This gives Tennessee yet another advantage in grabbing its more than fair share of the $1.3 trillion global advanced energy market.

The Energy Mentor Network is run by the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council in partnership with Launch Tennessee.

In broad strokes, the Energy Mentor Network pairs mentors with promising new companies and entrepreneurs through a structured program involving panel presentations and mentoring sessions.

The purpose of the program is to develop quality startups. After completing the program, startups will have an investable pitch deck, a rock solid business model and a plan to establish more traction. These tools will position Tennessee’s entrepreneurs to raise capital, request other funds like SBIR grants, and scale their company.

kevin christopherThis week TAEBC is highlighting Kevin Christopher. Christopher is the owner of Christopher Intellectual Property Law, PLLC. He’s a patent attorney and open innovation professional with expertise in alliance management, business, economic and policy development. Christopher previously worked in the Industrial Partnerships Office at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory leading business development for bio and clean tech interests including the formation of strategic partnerships, licensing, contracting and valuation activities.

Christopher is also an experienced commercialization consultant, accelerating the movement of socially beneficial inventions to the marketplace from universities, research labs, hospitals, companies, and government agencies. He’s also served as a mentor for the Cleantech Open.

TAEBC is still accepting applications for mentors in the program. If you are interested, please visit the “For Mentors” section of the Energy Mentor Network portion of TAEBC’s website.

Looking back on TAEBC’s 2016 accomplishments & what’s to come

As we welcome 2017 and anticipate what it will bring, the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) is marking its 2016 achievements.

By championing advanced energy as an economic development and job creation strategy, TAEBC is positioning the state and its members to increase our leadership role in the $1.3 trillion global advanced energy market.

As we enter into a New Year that will likely bring new opportunities and challenges, TAEBC wants to reinforce our commitment to our members and stakeholders:

  • Inform the national energy agenda.
  • Help Tennessee become the #1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.
  • Foster the growth of Tennessee advanced energy technologies and startups.
  • Support TVA’s efforts to become the utility of the future.

As we look forward to our annual membership meeting in Nashville, TAEBC shares our top 10 accomplishments from 2016.

TAEBC Top 10 Year in Review

  1. The Energy Mentor Network pairs mentors with promising new companies and entrepreneurs through a structured program involving panel presentations and mentoring sessions. The purpose of the program is to develop quality startups. The network is run by TAEBC in partnership with Launch Tennessee. Currently, there are more than a dozen mentors signed up for the program with expertise in energy systems, clean tech, intellectual property, business and finance strategy.
  2. mccarthyWelcome new members: McCarthy Building Companies, First Solar, John McMillian, Sandi Swilley, Bridgestone Americas, Centrus Energy, Milepost Consulting, Tori Watson, The Angel Roundtable, and Wacker Polysilicon North America.
  3. U.S. Department of Energy Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency Kathleen Hogan talked advanced energy in Tennessee during TAEBC’s annual Opportunities in Energy event. Special guests included Hogan and Bryan Dods, CEO for the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI). They had an in-depth discussion over the future of advanced energy. During this event there was also the unveiling of a three-part video series showing those who are making a difference in Tennessee’s advanced energy industry and what’s to come in the future.
  4. “This is Advanced Energy” video is the first of the three taking a closer look at what is advanced energy and what it means to Tennessee’s economy as a whole.
  5. insideae“Inside Advanced Energy” video is the second of the three videos giving you an opportunity to meet the people and companies that employ nearly 325,000 people and contribute $33.4 billion to Tennessee’s GDP.
  6. “Innovations in Advanced Energy” is the final of the three videos demonstrating how innovation gives Tennessee an edge in the $1.3 trillion global advanced energy marketplace.
  7. TAEBC is a growing industry leader and is an influential voice throughout the southeastern region, state and nation. In 2016, TAEBC was selected to speak at TVC’s Leadership Summit and Energy Huntsville’s member meetings. In addition TAEBC also moderated a “Clean Energy Innovations” panel at the Southeast Regional Energy Innovation Workshop in May in Chattanooga. The panel focused on clean energy issues in the region, grid research, and the economic impacts from clean energy innovations. As if this wasn’t enough, TAEBC’s board also had a conference call with Congressman Chuck Fleischmann (R- Tennessee) at the end of 2016 to discuss new energy leadership within the new transitioning administration.
  8.  TAEBC participates as a formal member in TVA’s newly formed stakeholder group: the “Distributed Generation- Information Exchange” or DG-IX for short.  TVA’s DG-IX was created to provide a forum for a diverse set of stakeholders to discuss the broad issues around the implementation of the distributed energy side of TVA’s 2015 Integrated Resource Plan. The group’s purpose is to build greater understanding of issues, technologies, and challenges/opportunities in distributed energy resources; facilitate dialogue among diverse interests; hear ideas, and present options and considerations to each other and TVA as they work to implement the 2015 IRP.
  9. New board members joined TAEBC in 2016. Jim DeMouy serves as the Vice President of Environmental, Health, Safety and Sustainability (EHSS) for Bridgestone Americas. He provides environmental, health and safety strategic and operational leadership for the global enterprise, including stewardship for sustainability initiatives. Also Jeff Kanel with Renewable Algal Energy serves on TAEBC’s board. He has more than 21 years of experience engineering research and process development through work at The Dow Chemical Company, Eastman Chemical Company and Union Carbide Corporation.
  10. TAEBC kicked off its new event series, Energy Connect, in Nashville at TAEBC member Bradley’s headquarters in early May. TAEBC’s Energy Connect gives members the chance to network more often during the year, increase the visibility of their business, and share expertise and information. In May more than 20 TAEBC members attended to hear a presentation on economic development from TVA’s John Bradley.

Remember to save the date for the next TAEBC event, Wednesday, February 15 in Nashville and help plan for a successful 2017.

Tennessee Fortune 100 and 500 companies setting renewable energy, sustainability targets

Earlier this month a new report, 2016 Corporate Advanced Energy Commitments, explained renewable energy demand is “significant and growing quickly” within Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies.

fortune-500-logoIts findings reveal that 71 of Fortune 100 companies and 215 of Fortune 500 companies have set renewable energy or sustainability targets.

TAEBC decided to take a closer look at which companies in Tennessee not only made the list but also have set energy goals within their corporations.

It’s important to mention 22 companies in the Fortune 500 list have committed to 100% renewable energy including General Motors and Nike.

General Motors has a plant located in Spring Hill, Tennessee and recently announced plans to add 650 jobs there. Meanwhile, Nike’s largest distribution center is located in Memphis, Tennessee.

fedexlogoComing in at the highest ranked Tennessee headquartered company on the list is FedEx Corp. FedEx’s corporate office is located in Memphis. It’s been on the list for more than 20 years and employs more than 323,000 people nationwide.

As for energy commitments, FedEx Corp. has set ambitious goals to reduce its footprint by:

  • Increasing FedEx Express vehicle efficiency by 30 percent by 2020 (It surpassed its original 20 percent by 2020 goal years ahead of schedule.)
  • Getting 30 percent of its jet fuel from alternative fuels by 2030
  • Expanding on-site renewable energy generation and procurement of renewable energy credits

The company has made impressive gains in meeting and exceeding these goals.

  • In FY12, FedEx achieved a 22% fuel efficiency improvement in the FedEx Express vehicle fleet since FY05. It also happily announced that FedEx Express increased its previously stated vehicle fuel efficiency goal by 50% to a 30% improvement by 2020, still using FY05 as the baseline year.
  • By the end of FY12, FedEx Express had increased its global electric vehicle and hybrid-electric vehicle fleet to 482 vehicles, an increase of nearly 18%. As of December 2012, these vehicles had logged 14.8 million miles and saved 480,000 gallons of fuel since being introduced to its fleet in 2005.

hcaholdings-inc-logoThe other Tennessee company making it to the Fortune 100 list is HCA Holdings, Inc. HCA Holdings’s corporate office is in Nashville. It’s the nation’s largest hospital chain and its revenues rose 8.7% over the past year. The magazine credits this to the passing of the Affordable Care Act, increasing its number of insured patients seeking healthcare.

HCA Holdings, Inc. has been on Fortune’s list for at least 22 years. The company employs more than 200,000 workers.

HCA has created a 2016 Sustainability Plan that mentions the collective impact all hospitals made in 2015 along with plans for the future in new construction projects including:

  • Pursuit of LEED Status – Several of HCA’s hospitals have received LEED Certified status or are in the final stages of such including it’s Nashville Data Center.
  • Alternative Energy Sources – Solar, wind, and combined heat and power energy systems can be incorporated into new construction. HCA’s Sustainability Plan says “an evaluation of the feasibility of these systems will occur for all future projects.

Why 3D printing is making East Tennessee a hotspot for advanced manufacturing

A recent article published online by Curbed is highlighting why Knoxville is becoming a power house in the advanced manufacturing sector in Tennessee.

Advanced manufacturing or additive manufacturing is an industry already changing the way the world consumes energy. For example, by 3D printing a car out of composites or light-weight materials that car weighs less which thus improves it’s overall fuel economy aligning with national goals to reach 54.5 MPG fuel standards by Model Year 2025.

The article praises 3D printing in Tennessee stating: “while industrial-capability 3D printing is still in development, this cutting-edge technology has already resulted in clusters of like-minded companies. And one of the most bustling areas for additive manufacturing in the country, and perhaps the world, may just be eastern Tennessee.”

It elaborates by saying Knoxville’s emergence is payoff for government investment in research and development citing Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a hub for government support of advanced manufacturing, and the lab has created a magnet luring innovative manufacturing companies.

Companies such as Local Motors, a firm developing 3D-printing cars, is planning on opening a facility in Knoxville early next year.

“Knoxville provides a unique opportunity,” says Kyle Rowe, an advanced materials engineer at Local Motors. “This is a budding technology corridor, with lots of suppliers and big players. That builds a self-sustaining network. Our supplier is just down the road.”

The innovations in East Tennessee go way beyond the desktop devices that most associate with the technology. In factories in Knoxville and nearby Clinton, companies are printing cars and even homes, living up to the aspirational “Innovation Valley” title applied by local civic boosters.

While the AMIE system created by SOM and Oak Ridge is made to go anywhere, its true legacy may be introducing advancements that reshape home energy usage and production. (Credit: Curbed)

While the AMIE system created by SOM and Oak Ridge is made to go anywhere, its true legacy may be introducing advancements that reshape home energy usage and production. (Credit: Curbed)

Oak Ridge researchers worked with architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (who also masterplanned the city of Oak Ridge, back in the ‘40s) to fabricate a 3D-printed mobile home that looks like a 21st century Airstream. Branch Technology, a local firm that prints modular housing recently collaborated with New York-based SHoP Architects to create Flotsam & Jetsam, a sprawling pavilion displayed at Design Miami last weekend that utilizes bamboo.

The core of the Knoxville’s 3D-printing capabilities come out of the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a cutting-edge research facility with more than 60 metal and polymer printers, as well as a composites laboratory. According to William Peter, who runs the MDF, the lab has spoken with more than 700 entities interested in gaining experience with new technology and collaborating with top scientists.

The plastic "ribs" that form the frame of the mobile home were made via 3D printing and additive manufacturing. (Credit: Curbed)

The plastic “ribs” that form the frame of the mobile home were made via 3D printing and additive manufacturing. (Credit: Curbed)

Related: LeMond Composites announces carbon fiber plant opening in Oak Ridge, brings 242 jobs

Ever since the lab decided to extend its focus on additive manufacturing around 2007, it has refined and expanded the possibilities of 3D printing, from simple plastics to carbon fiber and metal. Now, 40 staff members and dozens of students and partners focus on new ways to create high-performance parts and products.

In addition to Oak Ridge, Knoxville is also home to the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI). IACMI is a multi-state partnership of industry, universities, national laboratories, and federal, state and local governments accelerating the development and adoption of cutting-edge manufacturing technologies for low-cost, energy-efficient advanced polymer composites for vehicles, wind turbines, and compressed gas storage which will benefit the nation’s energy and economic security.

To read the full article, please visit www.curbed.com.