EnergySavvy Announces New Capabilities to Support Emerging Best Practice
Utility spending on energy efficiency programs will continue to grow rapidly, up to a projected $10 billion in 2015, despite the wind-down in public funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). As the market matures, utility and state programs require new strategies in addition to whole-building upgrades and retrofits. Programs are turning toward incremental approaches to achieving deep energy and cost savings. New technical standards like Home Performance XML (HPXML), are enabling these initiatives to reach scale.
Staged Retrofit Offers an Energy Efficiency Pathway vs. ‘All or Nothing’ Approach
The Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP), which runs energy efficiency programs in multiple regions of Virginia, and EnergySavvy have announced the deployment of a business and technology strategy to grow energy efficiency savings in a post-ARRA world through the implementation of staged retrofit.
Early adopters of upgrades and retrofits were able to take advantage of generous federal, state, and local incentives and rebates. Often, those incentives drove comprehensive whole-house and whole-building retrofits.
But the low-hanging fruit is increasingly harder to find. To make energy efficiency more attainable for a larger number of customers, programs have figured out that people are more likely to make a to-do list and chip away over time as they have the money.
Quantifying and Delivering on the Promise of Staged Retrofit
Technical sophistication is required to track, quantify and deliver energy efficiency measures and savings in a staged approach. Energy efficiency programs offered by states and utilities need to generate leads and track progress through multiple projects and potentially multiple programs.
Optix, EnergySavvy’s demand-side management system, has built-in staged retrofit capabilities to:
- Provide programs with sophisticated customer targeting algorithms
- Track measures implemented over time through multiple projects and programs
- Re-market to customers through each stage
- Maintain a consistent record of each customer across programs
The Optix staged retrofit template is one of many program templates within the SaaS platform alongside single measure, energy audit, home retrofit, commercial assessment, commercial single measure, commercial retrofit, and others.
Industry Support for Staged Retrofit and Software Standards
“Every step of the way LEAP has invested in the tools and processes necessary to achieve greater scale. Staged retrofit will be an important strategy to continue to generate energy savings. And HPXML will allow us to interact more efficiently with our trade ally contractors, increasing participation and satisfaction, by giving them more choice in the tools they use and by reducing data errors and redundancy.”
—Cynthia Adams, Executive Director, LEAP
Leading industry organizations, such as National Home Performance Council (NHPC), are advocating for a staged approach to energy efficiency that encourage “homeowners to plan for the long term and implement energy efficiency improvements over time in such a way that they would eventually achieve a certain level of energy savings (i.e. a specified decrease in energy consumption).” (NHPC, 2013)
This staged approach may reduce program costs and minimize the upfront costs to homeowners by allowing them to make improvements over time, or to bundle energy efficient improvements with other, planned improvements. Having the infrastructure in place is crucial for implementing this strategy; programs or participating contractors must be able to track and measure energy savings from improvements over time, as well as predict how different measures, implemented over several years, will add up to a given level of savings.
Larry Zarker, CEO of the Building Performance Institute (BPI), helps develop standards for the industry. “Our goal is to help contractors, utilities and financing entities share information without imposing a burdensome new data collection process on each,” said Zarker. “This allows the industry to cost effectively track the energy savings created by home efficiency improvements, which in turn builds consumer confidence in the home performance industry.”
What are your thoughts about emerging best practices like staged retrofit or the adoption of industry standards like HPXML? Leave a comment below…
 Barbose, Galen L., et al. “The Future of Utility Customer Funded Energy Efficiency Programs in the United States.” Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, January 2013. PDF file.