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One of the best quotes I heard last week was “This month has been a long year”. In just seven words it perfectly captures the surreal state we’ve been living in. Trying to run a business with three young boys at home, every day, over and over, Groundhog Day. 

Yet we at Beyond Efficiency are very lucky: while we’ve had some projects go on hold and clients delay payments, our business is sound. We sympathize deeply with the 30+ million Americans that have filed for unemployment in just six weeks, and the many that have been sick or lost a friend or loved one. Are there silver linings? As an eternal—yet always pragmatic—optimist, for me the clear answer is YES! 

It is May 5, 2020, 11 years to the day of becoming incorporated, and we share our spring newsletter with the optimism that humankind will not only survive, but thrive as a result of this pandemic. Highlights of this issue include our own musings on silver linings, new staff profiles, and results of the building industry survey we sent out last month. Read on to reflect on comments such as this one, a favorite of mine from a survey respondent:
   "This year's garden will be EPIC" 

Katy Hollbacher

Principal & Founder, Beyond Efficiency

What silver linings or opportunities do you see for the environmental building industry as a result of this health crisis?

The Beyond Efficiency Team Reveals...
Danielle Beevé-Morris: One thing that stands out to me about being stuck at home: we're all using a lot more energy on a day-today basis! I believe this will encourage a lot of homeowners to consider a more efficient way of powering and heating/cooling their homes, which could give both the environmental building industry and the renewables industry a chance to swoop in and offer energy savings techniques as well as incentivize more people to switch to renewable options that would help them be more energy independent.
Laken Allen: Hopefully projects will put more emphasis on long term affordability, especially as it pertains to upkeep and utility bills, now that we collectively seem more cost and savings conscious in the wake of this crisis. 
Katie Dahlgren: This crisis highlights the importance of our health, community and environment. We have the opportunity to incorporate and prioritize that focus into our built environment decisions to create better outcomes for all. 
Jayant Patil: More facilities will strive to reduce energy cost and implement energy efficiency measures. Retro commissioning activities that include a variety of low cost energy upgrades will be top priorities such as demand control strategies for HVAC and DHW end use, and maintenance upgrades (e.g. proper air filter replacement for DX heating and cooling units).
Jennifer Love: With everyone at home and businesses shuttered, transit is reduced and many buildings are not operating. This gives us a real life datapoint on the impact the sustainable buiding practices we advocate can have on energy use, air quality, and the environmental impact. Air quality dramatically improved, carbon emissions reduced - it works!
Kara Rousselle: During this health crisis, there are less transportation emissions and less consumer spending creating less pollution and waste.  Hopefully people are paying attention to the positive changes in the climate like clearer skies and waterways, and are willing to do their part, including within the building industry, to ensure a healthier climate once business as usual resumes.
Nathan Iltis: It will be interesting to see how the global lack of demand for oil impacts the future of oil and natural gas in our economy. It is possible that there will be a positive impact on the clean energy industry and a general reduction in emissions going forward. Also, the dramatically increased use of homes as workplaces may increase demand for well-built living spaces. 
Peter Grant: With the stay in place measures we're all spending much more time at home than we usually do, including far more people working from home than usual. Hopefully this really drives an industry awareness of the need for enduring, human-centered buildings!
Dan Johnson: The pause will take some pressure off our tendency to be head-down just to get things done as fast as they come. There is an opportunity now to rethink a lot of our work practices and goals.
Katy Hollbacher: There are so many parallels between this pandemic and climate change, such as everything seeming A-OK, until it's not. I'm hopeful this will be a catalyst for us to recognize that planning, foresight, and science must be embraced if we are to survive and thrive.

COVID-19 building industry survey results!
Charts, numbers and insights
by Laken Allen   

We are grateful to the more than 120 respondents that took the time to complete our survey in early April and share honest insights on the impact of the global health crisis on themselves. Read the full blog on our website for detailed results, including a selection of written comments from respondents we felt captured the essence of the situation. Following is a sneak peak!

Respondent Roles
Our respondents were highly representative of our clients and contacts with building industry professionals comprising over 70%, homeowners about 10%, and others (suppliers, utilities, government, real estate etc) about 20%.

Financial Impact
"Due to COVID-19, how do you forecast the impact on your company's revenue through the end of 2020"? Building professional respondents overwhelmingly expect revenue to drop or have "no idea". 

Get the full report here 

New staff profile: Danielle Beevé-Morris
Sustainability Engineer Manager in Berkeley
by Laken Allen   

Danielle holds a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering from UC Berkeley and a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering Planning & Management from Johns Hopkins University. A self-proclaimed Tree Hugger, she recently made the switch from the Biotech industry to the Environmental Sustainability sphere and brings a strong background in project management, process improvement, and regulatory compliance. She is passionate about finding environmentally just solutions to the climate crisis and is thrilled to be working with a team that holds similar values. Get to know Danielle!

Q: What's your favorite thing about working at Beyond Efficiency?
A: The team! Great people lead to a great work environment.

Q: What do you do?
A: I help with all of our New Home Multifamily projects.

Q: Pancakes or Waffles?
A: Pancakes

Q: What are the most exciting trends you see today outside of the building industry?
A: I am most excited about the sustainable diet trend of going meatless with new awesome brands like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat.

Q: What's a secret talent no one would know about you?
A: I speak "dim sum", so I'm very useful to have around while ordering off the carts

New staff profile: Kara Rousselle
Senior Mechanical Engineer in Boise, Idaho
by Laken Allen   

Kara holds a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering with a mechanical emphasis from the University of Wyoming and is a licensed Professional Engineer, Certified Energy Manager, LEED AP BD+C and Certified Passive House Consultant. She brings extensive experience in mechanical consulting and design to her new role as Senior Mechanical Engineer. She joins the Beyond Efficiency team remotely from her home in Boise, Idaho. Get to know Kara!

Q: What's your favorite thing about working at Beyond Efficiency?
A: We are actively being a part of the solution to construct more sustainable buildings! It is important for everyone to evaluate their strengths and leverage them to better the world we live in.

Q: What are the most exciting trends you see today in sustainable building, and outside of the building industry?
A: Living in Idaho, the building codes are not as focused on sustainability as they are in other states. The exciting trend that I'm seeing is that clients are requesting sustainable building measures even when not required by code. We have a long way to go, but I see a mental shift happening regarding a greater concern for our natural resources.

Q: What's a recent work accomplishment you're really proud of?
A: I designed a 40-bore closed loop ground source heat pump system in a building with two small mechanical rooms that stretched my (and the installers) creative boundaries fitting the equipment and piping in the space available.

Q: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
A: Running, gardening, photography, playing hockey and anything outdoors spending time with loved ones.


Learn more about Kara, Danielle and their teammates

Noteworthy Events

We'll be presenting, attending, or wishing we were there

May 7-8, 2020
Living Future unConference, Online
Originally intended to reflect our climate emergency, "Sustaining Hope Within Crisis" is even more relevant in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic. More than a collection of workshops, panels and virtual opportunities for the building community and online engagement, The International Living Future Institute presents LF20 Online as the place for the green building, sustainability, and social justice community to come together at this moment. 

May 14, 2020
Women-Owned Contracting Trends for 2020,
Online
Join Deltek and GovWin’s federal market expert Ashley Sanderson for a Thought Leadership webinar on small business opportunity analysis with a variety of highlights and factors impacting women-owned contractors.

May 14, 2020

We Can Electrify Every Building Type!, Online
Join the Building Decarbonization Coalition and Scott Shell of EHDD for a webinar on electrifying every building type.


Report-back on our inaugural virtual retreat

April 30-May 1, 2020
Zoom, Zoom
While we had to cancel our planned annual retreat amongst the redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains, we made the best of our first-ever virtual format that involved silly hats, lunch deliveries and a Happy Hour video game with aliens and humans. Besides the team building and camaraderie we also did some real work!

This year's theme was "thrive" and in that spirit, we all took the Gallup CliftonStrengths assessment. It was fascinating to reflect on our similarities and differences. Our work is technical and attracts an engineering mindset, yet we show wide diversity in our strengths—a sign of a great team.

We also worked on various aspects of our strategic plan, which is organized through our strategic categories of Financial Stability & Growth, Operations Efficiency, Maximum Impact, People Success, and Products & Services. We're excited to keep on moving!

 
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