Introducing the First in our EE Global Webinar Series – The 2019 Global Energy Efficiency Indicator Study
On April 29th, the Alliance will host the first in a series of webinars on topics originally planned for the in-person EE Global Forum that was to be held in Washington, DC this month. This first session, co-hosted by the EE Global Alliance and Johnson Controls, will highlight the release of the 2019 Global Energy Efficiency Indicator study. This 13th edition of the study surveyed 1,300 facility and energy management executives in 10 countries from the public and private sector. The survey analyzes market drivers, organizational barriers, enabling policies, as well as current and planned investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and smart building technology.
The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic provides an unanticipated but important context for the release of this study. Because the survey was completed in December before the start of the pandemic, the data suggests an optimistic prediction of increased investment in the year ahead following many consecutive years of increases. As we all know, a lot has changed since December, including a dramatic slowdown in the energy efficiency industry.
Nearly 60% of the U.S. energy efficiency workforce – some 1.3 million jobs – are in construction, and these workers are increasingly being furloughed or laid off because they can’t get into homes and businesses to do their work as a result of health risks. At least 22 states have shut down Weatherization Assistance Programs and many utilities are suspending their energy efficiency programs, threatening construction, manufacturing, engineering, professional services, and other jobs. The Alliance has been busy promoting a number of economic stimulus proposals to get the industry back to work and our hope is that the results of the study can provide insights to help make these proposals more effective.
One of the proposals is focused on RIGHT Retrofits for Public Buildings. This proposal would provide federal funding to augment private investment in renewing mission critical public facilities infrastructure to be Resilient, Intelligent, Green, Healthy and Transformable. The EE Indicator study found that 82% of organizations globally believe that increasing facility resiliency is very or extremely important, up from 72% the previous year. Building controls was the top improvement measure with 70% of organizations making investments in the previous year and over half of organizations in building systems integration. Interest in green buildings continues to grow with 76% planning to have at least one certified green building. Also of interest is occupant health and wellness where 59% said that it was a very or extremely important driver for investment. The ability to improve public building resilience, efficiency, and flexibility will be key to our ability to respond to future emergencies in an effective manner,
Another Alliance stimulus proposal is a Small Business Energy Efficiency Grant Program. This proposal would provide federal funding to small businesses that would supplement existing utility demand side management (DSM) program incentives to make energy efficiency improvements. The EE Indicator study shows that smaller private-sector organizations are more likely to identify lack of capital as their greatest barrier to investment and less likely to use third-party financing or energy services agreements than larger organizations. They are, however, also more likely to take advantage of utility incentives, which is why this grant proposal can be an effective approach to accelerate small business investment in energy efficiency and reducing their energy costs.
During the webinar, members of our EE Global Alliance steering committee will comment on the study results and also review trends from the 2010 EE Indicator global study to identify lessons learned during the previous recession and discuss actions we can take as the energy efficiency community to accelerate the global economic recovery.
Please join us on April 29th for the inaugural EE Global webinar and stay safe and healthy in the days and weeks ahead.