When Will Behavioral Energy Efficiency Hit the Commercial Market in a Big Way?
According to a new report from The Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), “Extensive research has found that the average utility customer spends nine minutes per year thinking about their energy use.”
Behavioral energy efficiency (BEE) employs behavioral science to produce simple, actionable messages that are relevant to customers and motivate them to save energy, says the AEE report “Advanced Energy Technologies for Greenhouse Gas Reduction.”
Opower has made a name for itself as a behavioral energy efficiency company that works with 93 utility partners in 35 states and eight countries around the world. Among its techniques, Opower uses peer pressure to compare residential customers’ energy usage against their neighbors. Opower recently filed an initial public offering, and its success has drawn attention to other behavioral energy efficiency companies, including Tendril, which recently won a contract with Seattle City Light.
“Dozens of independent evaluations have found BEE programs consistently produce savings of 1.5-3.5 percent per household,” says the AEE report.
But what about behavioral programs for commercial energy users?
Opower says it is extending its services to small and medium business, but hasn’t made any announcements of big projects.
Cenergistic offers a Transformational Energy Management process that trains its clients’ personnel to implement behavioral and organizational changes that reduce energy consumption without the purchase of new equipment.
In London, Canadian-based Pulse Energy says it will provide energy efficiency reports to British Gas’ 900,000 commercial customers in a three-year, multi-million-dollar contract. The Pulse Platform for utilities’ commercial businesses includes multiple communications channels that drive behavior change.
But in the United States, no Opower-like BEE product has really made a big splash in the commercial sector.
A doctoral student in the School of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University developed an intelligent dashboard to evaluate plug load energy savings in the workplace, and initial trials found that office workers who used the dashboard saved 35.4 percent in plug load energy compared to their colleagues.
Recently, the Institute for Market Transformation and the US Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Alliance honored 14 property owners, tenants and brokers who are effectively using the lease as a tool to save energy in commercial buildings.
Perhaps the time has come for a commercial product that compares building tenants’ energy consumption with each other.
Photo: Office via Shutterstock
- Top 3 Reasons to Calculate Your Environmental Footprint
- Essential Guide to Lighting Retrofits and Upgrades
- How to Use Lean Tools to Cash In On Environmental and Energy Savings
- NAEM Research Report: Planning for a Sustainable Future
- Sustainability Reporting for Commercial Real Estate: GRESB
- Guide to Energy, Carbon and Environmental Software
- The CFO and the Sustainability Reporting Chain
- Integrated Building Optimization
- Sustainability Careers: Unlocking Hidden Employment Potential
- Trends in Energy Management: Where Should Your Next Investment Be?
- Energy Efficiency Requires Engineering Efficiency
- Integrated Building Optimization: A Crucial Convergence of Demand-side and Supply-Side Energy Management Strategies
- Driving Productivity and Profit with Industrial Energy Management
- Energy Procurement in 2014: Products & Programs to Optimize Savings
- BUYING STRATEGIES IN A VOLATILE MARKET: What Businesses Need to Know about Retail Electricity Procurement