Something like 2.4 million Americans work in the energy efficiency sector, with some being able to work from home and others not, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
Many states, according to ACEEE, have temporarily canceled retrofits to low-income homes under the federal Weatherization Assistance Program. Many nonprofits who do energy efficiency work have also stopped, according to the National Association for State Community Services Programs.
The Building Performance Association, which represents 9,500 home and building performance contractors, says that virtually all residential energy efficiency work has been suspended by utilities, states, service providers, and small businesses, according to the ACEEE.
Don Watts with Watts Working Group, LLC Cleveland, Ohio told the ACEEE that with the exception of emergency work, all of his company’s work is at a standstill because of COVID-19.
“My work is inspecting homes to identify energy efficiency fixes that cut people’s bills and make them more comfortable. Here in Cuyahoga County, several dozen contractors work through the federal weatherization program and our utility to inspect residences and install energy efficiency improvements. Together our trained workforce provides energy conservation services to 1500–1800 houses and residential buildings annually.
Like many states, Ohio is currently under a stay-at-home order, which is expected to be extended indefinitely.
David Hepinstall, Executive Director of the Association for Energy Affordability in the Bronx, New York provides energy efficiency services and workforce training, with 90% of the company’s business coming from homes and residential buildings.
“We’re a direct services and training provider under New York state’s Weatherization Assistance Program, an implementer and subcontractor for utility efficiency programs, and an energy consultant for new and existing multifamily properties participating in NYSERDA programs or needing to comply with New York City mandates,” Hepinstall said.
During this public health crisis, AEA’s in-building work has stopped completely, sharply reducing income, Hepinstall said, adding that they support the need to halt residential efficiency operations at this time.