The energy efficiency sector was expected to grow 3% in 2020. Instead, it shrank by 13.5%. In this world of uncertainty as drug companies race to deploy a vaccine (hopefully as early as Q1 2021), the one thing you can count on is that the EE industry will be licking its wounds for years to come. When the pandemic first hit in March 2020 here in the US, many companies immediately halted all capital budget projects not deemed “essential to operations given the new environment”. Instead funds were re-directed towards HVAC and air quality solutions for commercial and industrial buildings.
As building experts, scientists, and the medical community gathered to share resources and deploy “covid response” measures, most EE jobs in the residential space were not able to weather the storm. Weatherization programs, home energy audits, multi-family building projects (housing senior citizens and low income families) were all deemed too high risk, citing contractors close proximity to large high risk groups of people in short periods of time.
Public safety is paramount, but considering a phased approach and assessing each geographic region to better understand the most applicable restrictions for that property and the inhabitants of the building is key. A broad lock down of areas and programs that serve the communities hardest hit from the pandemic and that address indoor air quality, is absolutely outrageous.
Rural and urban areas have been affected differently by this virus in their own right, especially taking into account the financial impact and geographic regions. Should politicians at the Federal or State level be making decisions with the logic of “better safe than sorry” or should each locality be responsible for their constituents and implement the best tailored solution for them given all the facts? We think the later.