The insulation industry contributes $20 billion a year to the US economy, according to a new economic report from the American Chemistry Council. It also directly helps support about 400,000 jobs, as well as many more in the supply chain.
According to the report, insulation manufacturing was an $11.7 billion business in 2016. The sector directly employs more than 33,000 people across 42 states. Indirectly, through the purchase of raw materials, equipment, services and other supplies, another 42,500 jobs are supported. Polyurethane and polyisocyanurate insulation products represent about a third of the manufacturing jobs.
A further 32,500 jobs are accounted for by the distribution and wholesale. But by far the largest number, nearly 325,000, are in the installation of insulation.
Furthermore, the report claims, through the household spending of the wages and salaries paid to workers in insulation manufacturing and their suppliers, an additional 49,000 payroll-induced jobs are supported. In addition, it claims, the combined economic activity supported by insulation manufacturing contributes $1.1 billion to state and local governments, and $1.9 billion in federal taxes.
Insulation is increasingly important in the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program estimates that the average household could save 15 percent on its heating and cooling bills by adding insulation and sealing air leaks.
This is significant, as the Department of Energy estimates that space heating and cooling account for almost half of the energy use in a home, and water heating 18 percent. Meanwhile, the heating and cooling of commercial buildings accounts for nearly 10 percent of all the energy consumed in the United States. Effective insulation plays a vital role in reducing this energy use, and saving money.
“This report makes clear that the business of manufacturing, distributing, and installing insulation generates significant economic output and creates jobs across the country,” says Martha Gilchrist Moore, senior director of policy analysis and economics at ACC and author of the report.
As well as ACC's Spray Foam Coalition, contributors to the report included the Cellulose Insulation Manufacturers Association, the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association, and the Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association.
“Beyond the report's findings, which speak to the general economic contributions from this industry, insulation in homes and businesses saves energy, putting more money in the pockets of consumers and business owners,” says Lee Salamone, senior director at ACC's Center for the Polyurethanes Industry.