Doubling down on the clean energy economy

By Katie Bartolotta

Posted April 8, 2020


The COVID-19 crisis is having catastrophic impacts on our health and on the economy. As an organization that is committed to a sustainable, healthy, and resilient built environment for all, Green Building United is taking stock of where we were before the crisis hit and where we can go next to improve the quality of life for our entire region.

The clean energy economy in our region was strong before this crisis.

Pennsylvania boasted more than 90,000 clean energy jobs in 2019, with nearly 69,000 of those jobs in energy efficiency. Non-essential services have been halted – including utility residential energy efficiency programs and construction site work – at least temporarily jeopardizing the strong clean energy job market.

Stay-at-home orders remind us of the importance of making our homes healthy, safe, and comfortable.

Americans spent on average 90 percent of our time indoors before the COVID-19 crisis. Now, for non-essential workers, almost all of that time is spent in our homes. For the many folks in our region without adequate cooling, the possibility of a stay-at-home order extending into the warm summer months presents another potential risk to health and wellbeing. For those with inefficient homes, the cost to power, heat, and cool for longer periods will stress our already energy burdened region. These health and financial impacts underscore the existing need for more energy efficient homes.

As part of the recovery from this crisis, we need to double down to continue the climate, health, and resilience benefits from the clean energy economy.

The clean energy economy provides services and infrastructure that can help restore and grow our regional job market and improve quality of life for our citizens by accelerating decarbonization in the built environment. There are several published pieces that suggest how federal government stimulus could help reignite the clean energy economy locally.

The Alliance to Save Energy’s recent blog post, Economic Stimulus – Let’s Do Building Retrofits RIGHT, makes a clear case on how to maximize the benefits from rebuilding the buildings sector.

An open letter to Congress, with ideas sourced from the proposals from several presidential candidates, offers up a comprehensive Green Stimulus proposal to make our economy and society more sustainable long-term.

In our region, we’ve made encouraging progress on climate policy but there’s much more to do.

For more, read our annual report, which highlights some of the key wins from the past year and describes how our membership helped drive the efforts. Consider making a donation to help support our work moving forward. 

Legacy Partners

Platinum Partners

Enter your registered email address to receive password reset instructions:


Log in to your Green Building United account:

Reset Password