Building Energy Consumption Is Down Due To Covid 19 Pandemic
Due to COVID-19, building energy consumption is down. Since the coronavirus has created a destructive path across the United States, the outcome of the pandemic is becoming very noticeable. Facility managers in the institutional and industrial centers of the nation continue to assess the fallout from their organizations’ decisions to relocate employees or shut down and or curtail the use of buildings. In that vein, the effect on electricity use in offices is becoming apparent.
In the four weeks till April 4, office building power consumption throughout the nation declined 22 percent, per statistics from real estate software firm Hatch Data. The firm, which examines building data on over 400 million square feet of occupied U.S. space, gathered data from building equipment and utility meters as the nation grappled with the coronavirus outbreak, based on Bisnow.
It then compared the four weeks to March 1’s week to paint a picture of how this unprecedented situation has influenced building operations. The business discovered that even with significantly reduced occupancy, operators and many building owners are keeping operations running to meet lease obligations and to keep their building’s operational.
When broken down by areas, the largest electricity decreases followed regions that first enacted drastic steps to shut down workplaces. In the Northeast, which includes the New York tri-state area, as well as New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania — electricity consumption decreased by 23 percent, according to the company.
Strengthening the Post-Pandemic Economy With Energy Support
Few cases in recent history have been as pliable for American society as the COVID-19 pandemic is proving to be. The novel coronavirus has tragically claimed thousands of lives and the livelihoods of innumerable, threatening to reverse the most extended period of sustained economic growth the nation has ever seen. And as time wears on, its effects are worsening.
Even still, there are reasons for optimism. The Congress and Trump government have undertaken exceptional work to deliver some sorely needed medicine. One of the government’s numerous prescriptions has become the $2 trillion national stimulus package enacted in March. And while this might be enough to hinder the downturn in consumer and investor confidence, the evidence is mounting that the reprieve could be short-lived.
However, were policymakers to point the attention of subsequent relief efforts toward improving the nation’s deteriorating foundation, they would support many new jobs and unlock numerous more private investment possibilities for years to come.
The question of how the government would pay for an infrastructure package big enough to stabilize the disruptive consequences of the coronavirus. Moreover, how can the government take advantage of the resources of the private sector and experience to leverage every stimulation dollar to its full extent?
Herein lies the importance of energy service performance contracts (ESPCs), the standard financing model for energy efficiency, and built infrastructure enhancement services and products. This mechanism enables institutions or companies to offset the entire life cycle costs associated with construction asset performance or procuring energy efficiency or pollution control solutions with the money saved by the facility. This contracting model puts the onus of attaining energy savings upon the contractor and reduces credit and performance risks for the procurer.
That means energy efficiency services can pay for themselves through performance contracting. Though, when leveraged with incentive money, the outcome is more investment collectively than either would achieve individually.
While not a remedy, the value of supporting an omnibus infrastructure bill cannot be overstated. A government-based potential for an enhanced built environment would involve many businesses such as energy efficiency, which already employ millions and provide solutions to some of our most pressing infrastructural demands. The key is that such support must comprise an incentive to capture and reinvest the savings — making an infrastructure enhancement approach significantly larger and more beneficial to the nation.
First and Foremost, the energy efficiency sector is a job creation powerhouse that included more U.S. jobs in 2019 than any other energy industry. The manufacturing and installation of energy-saving products and the supply of services that reduce end-use energy intake together employ up of 2.4 million Americans, according to the latest assessment by the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI) and the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO).
Equally important are the macroscale advantages that a more robustly supported energy efficiency industry provides the U.S. economy. On the one hand, services provided by energy service companies (ESCOs) are intended to enhance the cost-savings of big energy consumers, such as government agencies, manufacturers and healthcare, commercial real estate, and educational institutions.
Organizations that will have the cash to invest in enhancing or developing new services and products, entering new markets, and expanding their workforces or reduce their energy-related expenses. Increasing government support for specific energy efficiency programs will have a similar effect on household energy consumers. This is especially beneficial for low-income families, whose ability to manage energy-related expenditures will inevitably be strained by the coronavirus disruption.
But a better-supported energy efficiency sector does far more than improving the operating margin of an energy support customer. Lowering the energy consumption of an entity reduces its greenhouse gas emissions, too, an advantage that’s increasingly valued by regulatory bodies, investors, and consumers. With conducive policy frameworks, the energy efficiency sector could give rise to a 50% decrease in U.S. energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions, according to an analysis by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).
Today’s technology makes electricity solutions capable of integrating our building infrastructure to a cleaner and more secure electric grid, a pillar of modern national infrastructure. Over the long-term, these and other updates to our building infrastructure will significantly enhance our odds of alleviating the effects of global climate change.
To be sure, addressing economic and dual public health crises caused by the coronavirus will be no short order. Going forward, policymakers in Washington would do well to observe the environmental and economic benefits of investing in energy-efficient infrastructure. Keep in mind that, when it is about making a better, cleaner, and more resilient economy, it’s most helpful to start at the base.