Growing numbers of businesses across the United States are investing in energy efficiency. These efforts mean more than just energy savings – they can generate economic opportunity as well.
A recent study from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) shows the potential large-scale impact investments in energy efficiency can have on a state’s economy. Examining the state of Pennsylvania, ACEEE finds that a modest increase of 1.2% in electricity savings over a four-year period (2021–2025) could net more than 30,000 jobs and $6.4 billion in savings for the state economy.
Here in Tennessee, the industries that stand to benefit most from energy efficiency measures – manufacturing, warehousing, and real estate development and management – are all well represented in the state economy. With the utility cost savings efficiency investments generate, businesses have a new stream of capital to invest in operations, the kinds of investments that in turn create jobs in the construction and supply chain sectors. Trades related to the installation and servicing of energy efficient systems are set to grow as projects take shape. Finally, ACEEE expects the retail and services sectors would add jobs as people put their energy-savings to use.
At Pathway, we believe a significant barrier to commercial energy efficiency building projects is the lack of available capital. Business owners may be reluctant or unable to fund expensive upfront costs, or they may be unable to provide the collateral needed to secure capital and financing. Access to affordable capital makes the difference in getting these projects done, generating savings, and sparking job growth in communities across Tennessee.
Since 2010, Pathway Lending has originated over $43 million in loans to industrial, commercial, and private nonprofit facilities across Tennessee. We’ve helped locally-owned businesses like manufacturing facilities, hotels, auto dealerships, athletic and community centers, and schools save an average of $29,250 annually and keep over 15,000 jobs in the state’s economy.
We see energy efficiency as a powerful economic development tool – an investment more businesses should consider.