The American Council for an Energy Efficiency Economy (ACEEE) says energy retrofit programs that provide streamlined, end-to-end support tend have more satisfied customers.
Effective programs identify savings, help procure funding, provide technical assistance, and offer incentives for ongoing optimization, according to ACEEE’s report “The Promise and the Potential of Comprehensive Commercial Building Retrofit Programs.”
Utility ratepayer-funded programs have traditionally focused on providing incentives for energy efficiency measures that target specific equipment or components, said the report. Buildings, however, consist of a number of systems such as lighting, heating and cooling, ventilation, and hot- and cold-water delivery. These systems are interrelated; changes in one often affect the energy use in the others. Maximum efficiency gains can be achieved by analyzing the building as a whole and taking into account the interactive effect of the energy use of its various systems.
Granular real-time energy-use data and advanced analytical capabilities are creating new opportunities for whole-building assessments, identification of comprehensive savings, and automated monitoring and tracking of energy-systems performance. Effective programs are increasingly making use of these tools, especially to complement in-person energy audits.
Trade allies are an indispensable partner for comprehensive energy efficiency programs, says the report. Programs looking at a long-term strategy should develop a network of trade allies and offer them training, certification, program materials, and an incentive to participate.
Finally, ACEEE underscores the need to align program benefits with the business mission of the prospect. Efficiency retrofits provide non-energy benefits such as health, safety, comfort, and productivity improvements in conjunction with energy savings. Helping customers achieve their primary business or institutional mission through efficiency is more effective than trying to sell the benefits of efficiency on their own.