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COVID-19 is slamming efficiency workforce now, and may bring long-term changes for efficiency

(ACEEE blog, 30 Mar 2020) The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a dire health and economic toll across the United States – including on people in the energy efficiency sector. In these stressful, uncertain times, we at ACEEE are doing whatever we can to understand and help address the challenges ahead

Already, it is becoming apparent that the pandemic is affecting the efficiency sector, especially its more than 2.4 million workers, as well as energy use and emissions in profound ways.

First, with most families isolating themselves in their homes and apartments, actual work installing energy efficiency measures is swiftly dropping. Few people want contractors in their homes, and many contractors either do not want to work in potentially unsafe conditions or are prohibited by their states from doing so. As a result, some contractors are put in the difficult position of having to lay off staff. Last week, a record number of Americans, more than 3.2 million, filed unemployment claims.

We checked in with Sealed, a New York company that finances key home efficiency improvements using the money homeowners currently waste on energy. It has halted all of its in-home verification and installation activities. The company’s weatherization partners reported this week that they had to lay off or furlough more than 45% of their workforce, with further layoffs likely.

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ACEEE blog, 30 Mar 2020: COVID-19 is slamming efficiency workforce now, and may bring long-term changes for efficiency