Industry Embraces Staged Retrofit, Energy Efficiency Pathway to Deeper Savings

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[1], 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.

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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… 


[1] 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.

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Five Million Data Points Uncover State-by-State Energy Efficiency Potential

Online Energy Audit Data Now Available for the First Time

Housing attributes and energy habits from more than 120,000 U.S. households illuminates the opportunities for energy efficiency upgrades and potential savings in the country.

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Interactive infographic provides insight on energy efficiency potential by state among consumers actively exploring opportunities to improve their homes.

Generic residential building stock data is widely available. Utilities, city planners, and other professionals rely on this data to understand the profile of homes in a given market. However, representative housing data cannot help determine the triggers or motivations of homeowners; in short, why they would act.

The key piece of missing information is a homeowner’s propensity to seek out energy efficiency information, rebates, incentives, and potential. Access to residential building stock data from homeowners and residents who have expressed an interest in energy efficiency improvements can help utilities and cities design incentives and build programs that will move the needle on energy efficiency and demand-side management programs.

Interactive Infographic Unlocks the Data

EnergySavvy has compiled a Residential Data Assessment, the result of more than 120,000 completed online energy audits with Optix Engage on EnergySavvy.com between 2010 and 2013. The audits were completed by homeowners and residents who visited EnergySavvy.com, primarily as a result of natural search terms indicating an active interest in home energy efficiency upgrades (for example:  ”energy rebates Boston”).

This interactive infographic pinpoints energy efficiency potential by state through analyzed, region-specific data. It uncovers opportunity for savings by aggregating the potential within heating, cooling, wall and attic insulation, appliances, and usage habits, as well as attributes like draftiness, age, and size of home.

For EnergySavvy’s utility customers, the source data is available for custom analysis on a state-level and within specific service territories. Data from a customer implementation of Optix Engage can help utilities design and plan energy efficiency programs that match specific needs in the market, as well as provide the tools to target the appropriate segment of households that are in the market for those programs.

Using this type of data, a utility DSM executive could answer questions like:

  • Which homes are oil-heated and would have the best return on an upgrade to a high efficiency gas furnace or electric heat pump?
  • Which homes reportedly feel drafty and could benefit from low-cost, high impact air sealing?
  • Which homes have thermostats set high in the winter and low in the summer and could benefit from incentives for programmable thermostats or behavioral programs?
  • Which homes have old refrigerators and could take advantage of recycling programs and rebates on a newer, more efficient model?

The EnergySavvy Residential Data Assessment data set contains over five million data points that help uncover untapped energy efficiency potential across the country. For utility marketers, program managers or DSM portfolio executives, this information could be invaluable.

Energy Efficiency Opportunity by State

Here’s a look at some specific insights by state:

Lighting:  North and South Dakotans report using more conventional light bulbs than any other state, at 1.5 times the national average. Vermonters, by contrast, report using efficient bulbs at the highest rate, 1.8 times the national average.

Appliances:  States with the most stand-alone freezers in addition to a primary fridge and freezer? Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming, all in excess of 2x the national average.

Heating Set Point:  West Virginians like it warmer in the winter. They set their thermostats higher than most other states. Rhode Islanders keep their homes the coolest in winter.

Air Conditioning:  Mississippians have the highest percentage of homes with central AC older than 15 years. 28% of homes with central AC could be candidates for upgrades or replacement. 

Cooling Set Point:  Alabamans set their thermostats cooler than any other state in the summer. Others who keep their AC chillier than average include residents of Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

Need More Data?

For more information on our data or products, please contact the EnergySavvy Team.

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Seattle is Paving the Way for More Women in Software Development

New Seattle-based program, Ada Developers Academy, is launching a year-long intensive software development training school for women.

Seattle is known for its vibrant tech scene and it is no secret that we rely heavily on our software developers. Here at EnergySavvy, we are lucky to have one of the best and brightest engineering teams around. You may know that hiring developer talent is extremely difficult – there are 20,000 unfilled STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) jobs in Washington, and 65%of new STEM positions are in computer science. Not only that, but 85% of software developers are male.

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Source: Ada

It’s been shown that diverse teams frequently outperform. Especially in Seattle, we could all benefit from greater diversity and would love to see more women, in particular, taking more positions in computer science. We want to do everything we can to bring more women into software development, for the betterment of the entire tech community.

What’s the buzz about Ada?20130911115029-ada-indiegogo

Scott Case, our COO, and Kalpana Narayanaswamy, our VP of Engineering, have been actively driving the development, sponsorship and direction of Ada Developers Academy, a year-long intensive software developer training program for women in Seattle. It’s a free (did someone say free?) course that combines six months of classroom instruction in cutting-edge web technologies with up to six month of apprenticeship at a Puget Sound-area tech business. It can even include a monthly stipend to accommodate all financial situations.

With Scott & Kalpana’s direction, we are proud to announce our involvement and excitement as a sponsor of Ada.

  • As a sponsor, we’re not only making a financial contribution for a student to learn everything she needs to know to become a successful developer, but we’re also hosting an intern for six months.
  • The first class starts October 28th, and the application window closes soon- September 30th. If you know of any women who are interested in careers in software development, please encourage them to apply.

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EnergySavvy Brings Utility Leaders Together for 2nd Annual Summit on Data Transparency in Energy Efficiency

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Utility energy efficiency and demand-side management (DSM) leaders from around the country will gather Sept.10–11, 2013 in Seattle for EnergySavvy’s Summit on data transparency in energy efficiency. The two-day event will include major new EnergySavvy product announcements and will feature insight from thought leaders including Rob Bernard, Chief Environmental Strategist at Microsoft, and Steve Reynolds, former President and CEO of Puget Sound Energy.

Why Energy Efficiency Data Transparency

Energy efficiency has become a critical component of utility resource planning. But the predictability and reliability of energy savings requires sophisticated software and analytics to provide the necessary data transparency and operational control. EnergySavvy’s Summit puts utility DSM goals front and center in a collaborative environment designed to share and solve real challenges from program planning to implementation and ongoing evaluation.

EnergySavvy to Launch New Products

Product and innovation sessions throughout the summit will allow utility program leaders and technology partners to share concrete best practices, lessons learned, and ideas for action. As part of this collaboration, EnergySavvy will announce and demo groundbreaking new software offerings within Optix, its flagship DSM software. EnergySavvy’s solutions bring measurability and scalability to energy efficiency through data transparency and control.

Features Former CEO of Puget Sound Energy and Microsoft Strategist

Steve Reynolds, former President and CEO of Puget Sound Energy (PSE), kicks off the Summit with a perspective of energy efficiency and demand-side management from the corner office. Serving PSE from 2002 until his retirement in 2011, Reynolds led a transition toward meeting the energy needs of its Pacific Northwest customer base through incremental, cost-effective energy efficiency, low-cost procurement of sustainable energy resources, and early development and investment in the energy-delivery infrastructure.

Rob Bernard, Chief Environmental Strategist at Microsoft Corporation provides a look at the road ahead for energy efficiency in the commercial and industrial sector. Bernard will share lessons on big data and energy efficiency from the world’s largest software company. Under Bernard’s leadership, Microsoft has set its first carbon reduction goal and rolled out a global campaign to engage with customers, partners and governments on ways to use information technology to reduce environmental impacts.

Seattle: Hub of Clean Technology

With a rich history of industry, innovation and sustainability, the Pacific Northwest is an ideal setting for clean technology. EnergySavvy is a Seattle-based software company that counts twenty utility and government energy efficiency programs as clients, in the Northwest and around the country. Its solutions are bringing measurability and scalability to energy efficiency through data transparency and control.

Utility DSM and energy efficiency program executives looking to collaborate and innovate can register at the EnergySavvy Summit website now through September 6th.

See you there!

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APS Deploys Optix, Joins LEAP in Embracing HPXML

Control and Transparency of DSM Program Data

APS deploys EnergySavvy Optix

EnergySavvy is proud to announce that Arizona Public Service (APS) has adopted EnergySavvy’s Optix demand-side management software solution. The deployment leverages EnergySavvy’s support for Home Performance XML (HPXML), an emerging standard for exchanging building performance data between disparate systems. HPXML’s momentum in the industry builds on the leadership and support of another EnergySavvy customer, LEAP-Virginia.

Home Performance XML (HPXML) is an open standard supported by the National Home Performance Council (NHPC) and the Building Performance Institute (BPI) used to communicate residential building performance and improvement data between different software systems. By using a standard language, it allows a platform like EnergySavvy Optix to communicate with contractor auditing tools and other distributed IT systems within the DSM ecosystem.

Adoption of the HPXML open standard removes risks associated with redundant data entry and the administrative overhead associated with it, and offers greater choice among trade allies to use their preferred in-field software tools.

EnergySavvy CEO, Aaron Goldfeder, welcomed APS to a growing list of EnergySavvy clients standardizing on HPXML. “We’re honored to work with some of the foremost leaders in  the industry. In many ways their innovation removes risk and opens the adoption path for the next wave of utilities ready for modern approaches around data transparency and control with open standards.”

APS and EnergySavvy

Arizona Public Service Company (APS) has selected EnergySavvy’s Optix platform to run its Home Performance program. Optix will enable APS to increase customer participation while lowering the cost of energy savings through more effective customer engagement, data transparency with trade allies, and greater control over program performance.

Gavin Hastings, Program Manager at APS, explains:  “EnergySavvy’s software gives us insight and control over our program performance by providing transparency and real-time quantification. I’ll know what is working and where bottlenecks exist so I can take corrective action well before the M&V cycle tells me what I should have done after the fact.”

LEAP and EnergySavvy

LEAP is a nonprofit energy services organization modeled as a community-based, public-private partnership. The state-wide organization has been running its programs on EnergySavvy Optix and early in 2013 celebrated 1,000 home energy upgrades in Virginia. Cynthia Adams, Executive Director of LEAP, has been a strong proponent of HPXML and has helped lead the industry toward adoption.

“LEAP Virginia continues to invest in the tools and processes necessary to achieve greater scale,” said Adams. “HPXML will allow us to interact more efficiently with contractors and trade allies, increasing contractor participation and satisfaction, reducing data errors, and giving our trade allies choice in the tools they use. LEAP and EnergySavvy have led the way on implementing this new HPXML software standard, one that will provide us with a scalable platform from which to continue to grow LEAP’s successful programs.”

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