By Damien Condo, Facillitee Inc.
When I founded Facillitee Inc. in 2014, I quickly realized that energy-efficiency technologies and solutions are continually evolving. To remain competitive, my team needed access to up-to-date resources and training, but we faced limitations in terms of time and capital.
Last year, a new opportunity emerged to support businesses like mine and the contractors we work with. The opportunity is the State-Based Home Energy Efficiency Contractor Training Grants Program, which allocates $6 million in formula funds to Florida’s Office of Energy.
These funds are intended to develop a program for local businesses in the energy-efficiency industry, providing training and attracting workers. There is an additional $40 million available to Florida’s Office of Energy through a competitive process, allowing Florida business owners to apply for funding based on their specific needs and applications.
Although the application period for accessing both pools of federal dollars has opened, Florida’s Office of Energy has not yet made plans to access them. With just a few months left before the January 2024 deadline, time is of the essence.
Facillitee Inc. is an energy service company that offers energy-efficiency consultation and products to help Florida residents and business owners save money through energy-efficiency upgrades, resulting in reduced energy bills. As a native Floridian and market observer, I understood that it was only a matter of time before increasing energy costs would impact Floridians, making energy-efficiency services and upgrades practical and tangible solutions. This year, as Florida’s residents and businesses endured skyrocketing power bills, historically sluggish demand for efficiency solutions is now in high demand.
Seizing the opportunity provided by the State-Based Home Energy Efficiency Contractor Training Grants can significantly stimulate growth for small businesses and contractors in Florida. These training grants have the power to ignite economic growth while helping stabilize the cost of living for all Floridians.
Contractors typically spend substantial time and money on employee training to stay competitive. This program will educate and train contractors in the residential energy-efficiency and electrification sectors, effectively reducing training costs for contractor employees. The skills gained from these programs will enable contractors to offer proven products and services, such as upgrading weatherization and more advanced projects, including integrating smart thermostats, both of which reduce HVAC load demand.
With these skills and expertise, Florida’s workforce can enter the market and help residents enhance their living spaces through energy-efficient upgrades and electrification of relevant appliances and applications. This is a win-win for Florida.
I invite you to join me in urging Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida’s Office of Energy to ensure the Sunshine State gets its fair share of federal resources and rolls out the State-Based Home Energy Efficiency Contractor Training Grant Program. This initiative will equip business owners and contractors in Florida to adapt to the evolving American landscape, fortify our workforce and maintain our relevance in the energy-efficiency movement.
Damien Condo is the founder and principal energy efficiency consultant at Facillitee Inc., a 10-year-old energy consultation and product supply company based in North Palm Beach.