March 2020 Newsletter

Monthly news and updates from the Michigan Energy Efficiency Contractors Association (MEECA).

Navigating the Treacherous Waters of COVID-19

Much has changed since the February newsletter was published. We currently find ourselves in a period of considerable uncertainty and disruption. Terminology recently unfamiliar to most people—social distancing, stay-at-home order, PPE, flattening the curve—are now in the lexicon. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold as billions around the world sequester at home and businesses and institutions suspend nearly all activity. Open questions remain about how long the current shutdown will last, and how the economy will respond on the other side of it.

 

Businesses in all sectors have been hit hard and Michigan’s energy efficiency industry is no exception. In the short term, all customer-facing EWR programs have been suspended. Program managers have migrated as much work as possible online and on the phone. In most cases, rebate applications can still be processed and paid. Contractors, too, are doing whatever they can to make progress on existing jobs and conduct business development from a distance. But customer demand is obviously way down. If trade allies have any questions about the status of specific EWR programs, they should contact their utility account manager.

 

MEECA has been monitoring developments especially related to small business relief from state and federal governments. We have been sending periodic email updates to our members as new information becomes available. If you are a member and have not been receiving these updates from MEECA, be sure to contact executive director David Gard at david@meeca.info.

 

Here is a short list of useful websites:

 

Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC): Resources for Michigan Businesses During COVID-19

 

Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM) COVID-19 Resources

 

Summary of Governor Whitmer’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order

 

State of Michigan Coronavirus Website

 

Information on Volunteering and Donations

 

 

Also, many contractors are interested in pursuing online training during this period. Here are just a few opportunities to check out:

 

GreenHome Institute:

 

Free trainings posted by PG&E. This resource was brought to our attention by colleagues in another state. The course list is comprehensive and most of it available online. Topics include HVAC, Home Performance, Combustion Safety, Building Codes, etc.

 

Going Virtual: MEECA's Annual Event Makes the Pivot

 

Usually the day before MEECA’s annual event, we are focused on confirming the guest list, double-checking facility arrangements, printing programs, and preparing remarks. Not this year. Our 6th Annual Banquet & Awards Celebration was scheduled for March 12th at MSU’s Kellogg Center. But on March 11th the World Health Organization upgraded COVID-19 to a pandemic, MSU suspended face-to-face classes, and the State of Michigan urged groups to cancel or postpone large gatherings. It became clearer as the day wore on that Plan A was no longer an option.

 

That left MEECA with a decision to make. After weighing different alternatives, we landed on a solid Plan B. Instead of rescheduling an in-person event later this year with so much uncertainty, MEECA will host a virtual awards celebration. This will let us shine a spotlight on our 2020 award winners while opening the event to a larger number of participants!

 

The date for MEECA’s Virtual Awards Celebration is still TBD. So look for more details in the coming weeks as the plan takes shape. We hope you can join us!

 

We are grateful to our 2020 event sponsors listed below!

 

EE in the News

SBAM interview with MEECA member Roy Rabban

 

Resources available from MEECA member Energy Sciences:

 

Home is where the health is: how to make your home energy efficient during social distancing

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)

March 25, 2020

 

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

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)

March 26, 2020

 

Energy efficiency employs at least 2.4 million Americans. Many of those jobs are now at risk.

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)

March 23, 2020

 

How COVID-19 is impacting 5 state energy legislation efforts 

Utility Dive

March 26, 2020

 

Q&A: Illinois architect on the growing challenges of maximizing efficiency 

Energy News Network, March 27, 2020

 

U.P. Energy Task Force releases Draft Report, Part 1. Among recommendations are several calling for expanding weatherization and supporting basic home repairs needed to make a residence eligible for federal, state, and utility-sponsored weatherization assistance. Public comments on the draft recommendations will be accepted through April 6, 2020. Click here to view the document.

Public Policy Update

EWR Collaborative Conference Calls

The MPSC Staff will be hosting regular calls for the EWR Collaborative to discuss impacts of COVID-19 on utility EWR programs and their performance. The next two calls are scheduled for 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, April 7th and 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, April 14th. If you would like to receive information about these calls, contact David Walker at walkerd12@michigan.gov or 517-284-8217.

 

 

State leaders outline protections, assistance available for energy utility customers

The State of Michigan is working with utility companies to ensure protections are in place for customers as efforts to help slow the spread of the coronavirus impact families and businesses across the state. See the March 26th press release from MPSC.

 

 

Michigan Energy Codes Compliance Collaborative

Factsheets and checklists related to the Michigan Energy Code are available online.

 

Upcoming Events & Deadlines

 

MEECA Virtual Awards Celebration—Date TBD (Details Coming Soon!)

 

Southeast Michigan PACE Summit (formerly April 15, 2020)

POSTPONED

 

Michigan Mass Timber Summit (formerly April 20-21, 2020)

POSTPONED

 

2020 Michigan Energy Summit (formerly April 21, 2020)

POSTPONED

Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council’s 8th Annual Energy Innovators Conference (formerly April 22, 2020)

POSTPONED

 

2020 National Home Performance Virtual Conference

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN MOVED ONLINE

April 27, 2020

 

Michigan Energy Efficiency Conference and Exhibition (formerly May 5, 2020)

Hosted by DTE Energy and The Engineering Society of Detroit

RESCHEDULED TO OCTOBER 20, 2020

 

Consumers Energy Business EE Programs: Trade Ally and Contractor Orientations

 

2020 Michigan Clean Energy Conference (formerly May 17-19, 2020)

SUSPENDED, DECISION PENDING

 

BOC Level 1 Training Series

Building Operator Certification: Hosted by Consumers Energy, DTE Energy, BWL, and EGLE.

July 8, 2020 through September, 2020

Livonia, MI

 

Net Zero Build Summit

RESCHEDULED TO AUGUST 25-26, 2020

 

 

Detroit 2030 District is a free program that challenges Detroit building owners and managers to reduce energy waste. Those who achieve the greatest reductions from the prior-year baseline will be recognized at the first annual Detroit Energy Challenge Award Ceremony in 2021. To learn more, visit their website.