Energy auditor no shortage of workers now

October 17, 2009
| By Pete Daly |
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The "Forgotten Middle-Skills Jobs" report states that shortages of middle-skilled workers are "already occurring" in the green jobs sector, including energy auditing.

Not so, says Mike Holcomb, president of Energy Auditor General of Byron Center, which has been in business for 22 years.

"There's no shortage of employees in that sector of the economy," he said. "There's a whole lot more training going on than there is available work."

Much of what his company does involves new home construction designed to LEED standards. There are only about three such energy audit companies in the state doing that, he said, because there just aren't enough new homes in that category. Energy Auditor General also works with commercial structures and some light industrial.

Holcomb said Michigan had "the weakest energy code in the nation for decades." That has been strengthened now, and there is growing interest in reduction of the residential energy footprint, which would entail more energy audits.

"However, because the economy is the way that it is, there's more auditors" than needed at this time, he said.

"I think most of the hype is about trying to transition stimulus dollars to these education programs, and I think it's all based on speculation of what the potential is, as opposed to what the reality is. The fact of the matter is, most people can't afford to make changes in their homes in energy efficiency, and many can't afford to have audits done, so they don’t do them.

"I don’t know of any auditor in the state that makes a living just doing energy audits" on existing homes, he said.

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