EnergySavvy’s First Annual Customer Summit Recap

EnergySavvy’s First Annual Customer Summit Recap
September 25, 2012 Anne Maertens
Center for Wooden Boats

A little over a week ago, we hosted our first annual Customer Summit, bringing together a select group of leaders from utilities and energy efficiency organizations throughout the United States. The two-day Summit was designed around a series of smart discussions on moving the energy efficiency industry towards the future, through software, marketing, program design and evaluation.

“The Summit was a fantastic opportunity to meet other groups who are using similar tools to ours in other markets,” said one attendee. “The networking events were stellar, and the speakers were fantastic as well.”

We were honored to have such an elite group contributing to the Summit discussions. We heard and traded personal stories about energy efficiency program successes and challenges energy efficiency program administrators face everyday. These stories will ultimately guide our efforts to develop software to improve experiences for program participants, contractors and administrators.

We kicked the Summit off with an informal Happy Hour at the Urbane Coffee Bar.

Followed by a day and a half of discussions with guest speakers including Efficiency.org’s Matt Golden, Energy Center of Wisconsin’s Scott Pigg and Vanderbilt University’s Dr. Amanda Carrico.

And of course, we left a bit of room for fun with dinner at the Center for Wooden Boats on Lake Union.

Session highlights included:

Scott Pigg: Bringing evaluation in-house and getting involved with the process saves programs money and time and fixes several of the issues that arise from evaluators and program administrators “speaking different languages”.

Amanda Carrico: Energy rebate amounts do matter, but non-price factors in program design and execution matter more. With the same rebate dollar amounts, programs can have an order of magnitude difference in impact depending on program design.

Given that attendees had traveled from all over the country to join us, we wanted to know what they were hoping to learn. We heard a range including wanting to learn best practices from their peers, to hear how other organizations structure their programs and to see how other programs are embracing EnergySavvy’s software products.

“I appreciate the openness with which EnergySavvy approached its customers and the willingness to hear feedback from users,” said another attendee.

Some of the other topics discussed included:

  • The range of programs available for consumers from utilities, governmental and other organizations can be confusing, and therefore a barrier for participants and other stakeholders. But coordination is hard…
  • Contractors are program customers too; their happiness is crucial for program success. How that works is another question altogether…
  • Barriers to scaling up non-lighting programs, and ultimately creating long-term success, include participant recruitment and a lack of consistent program standards. Sharing best practices from around the country is key…

Along with challenges, we also discussed possible solutions from cross-marketing by programs to reduced paperwork for contractors and participants. Ultimately, the solutions we discussed at the Summit and at the office post-summit will be reflected in the software we build.

Thanks again to everyone who joined us. We can’t wait to make it even better next year!