The move to net-zero buildings will create jobs in the coming years

  • Commercial real estate relocation is especially good for hiring
  • In the Netherlands, more than 66,000 jobs are expected to be created thanks to the renovation of buildings

Research by the Schneider Electric Sustainability Research Institute (SRI) and Boston University’s Institute for Global Sustainability (IGS) shows that more than two million new jobs could be created in the coming years by applying clean energy in new and renovated buildings.

The research focuses in particular on the possibility of installing rooftop solar panels, heat pumps and energy storage batteries for self-produced (or produced) renewable energy. These low-carbon technologies, all available today, support the electrification and digitalization of the building sector, which is crucial to reducing greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. New jobs will be created in the coming years, in line with building sustainability towards 2050 net emissions targets.

This is the first time that job creation through Future Buildings has been estimated in this way.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that thanks to new technologies, it is now possible to quickly convert buildings to net-zero emissions,” said Vincent Petit, Senior Vice President of Climate and Energy Transition Research at Schneider Electric and President of the SRI Institute. “What we often don’t realize is that such a shift comes with significant social and economic benefits. This study is further proof of that.”

Main findings of the study:

  • Although 66,000 new jobs are expected to be created in the Netherlands, more jobs are expected to be created in surrounding countries. France is likely to provide 295,000 job opportunities, followed by Germany with 257,000 jobs, Italy with 252,000 jobs, the United Kingdom with 247,000 jobs, and Spain with 212,000 jobs.
  • The greatest potential for job creation lies in the use of heat pumps for large buildings and battery storage in areas and building types with excess solar capacity.
  • For heat pumps, solar and batteries, the majority of labor years come from construction and installation.
  • Commercial buildings provide much more employment opportunities per building. For residential buildings, approximately 0.05 jobs can be created per building. For commercial buildings, this ranges between 0.3 and 4.7 jobs per building.
  • The research builds on two recent findings from SRI which showed that carbon emissions reductions of more than 60% can also be achieved when implementing these low-carbon solutions, and up to 70% when implementing digital building and energy management solutions in existing office buildings.

“Business is often a polarizing topic when it comes to the transition to a net-zero economy, surrounded by uncertainty about emerging opportunities in green energy,” said Benjamin Sovacool, director of Boston University’s Global Sustainability Institute and a professor at the college. Earth and life sciences. “This research provides greater detail when it comes to the significant potential for new jobs created by low-carbon buildings. It is a compelling co-benefit of decarbonization that has the potential to alleviate social and economic concerns and positively shape climate policy.”

These research findings can be useful in the short term to inform companies, communities and governments that want to participate in construction projects. For policymakers, understanding the job-creating potential of the shift to net-zero housing can encourage skeptics to support the transition to green energy. For business decision makers, job estimates can improve expectations about the scope, investment, life cycle management and impact of construction projects.

The full report is It can be read here.

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Megan Vasquez

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