Active Efficiency in Action
The best way to understand the value of Active Efficiency is to see it in action. There are many examples that demonstrate the potential of Active Efficiency. Between the economic, social, and environmental benefits, the hard work that goes into making these examples successful is something to be celebrated.
Customer-centered Program Design
Customer-focused utility programs need to be streamlined and designed to provide equitable access to services. Programs also should be designed to meet the specific needs of different customer segments – e.g. enabling aggregation for smaller energy users and driving deeper savings and demand flexibility for larger energy users. The initiatives and programs highlighted in this section demonstrate how a stronger focus on customer needs can lead to improved energy performance and demand flexibility outcomes.
U.S. Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) provides funding for states to improve energy efficiency in low-income homes through better insulation and efficient equipment. WAP includes a notable measure of protection that could be incorporated into other programs targeting low-income customers: the program limits state grantees from raising rent for tenants as a result of the weatherization work.
VEIC’s Efficiency Smart Program
Efficiency Smart, a program administered by VEIC, partners with local food banks, senior centers, and schools to provide no-cost energy efficiency kits for vulnerable customers in Ohio and Delaware. Partnering with community organizations can build trust within underserved communities and increase awareness about energy efficiency technologies.
Delaware Energy Efficiency Advisory Council
The Delaware Energy Efficiency Advisory Council (EEAC) is a collaboration of stakeholders who develop and deploy statewide energy efficiency programs. The EEAC’s Low-Income Energy Efficiency Subcommittee consists of a diverse set of representatives, including a low-income sector advocate and county-level community members, to ensure that low-income energy efficiency programs and initiatives include input from the communities they serve.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Integrated System Packages
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Integrated System Packages (ISPs) provide a model for streamlining the customer experience in energy efficiency programs. To help simplify the path toward a desired level of performance, the ISPs are pre-engineered energy efficiency projects that can help achieve “deeper savings while minimizing expertise and effort required for implementation,” in turn reducing risk for the customer. The ISPs are designed to be used during common building life-cycle events, including property sale, tenant changes, refinance, and building repositioning.
Ameren Illinois’s Smart Savers program
Performance-based utility programs can incorporate elements of programs that have successfully scaled up the deployment of energy-saving smart and connected equipment: Based on a pilot program in 2018, Ameren Illinois’s Smart Savers program offers free smart thermostats to residential customers within low-income zip codes. Access to smart thermostats can be combined with enrollment in utility demand response programs to achieve greater savings while providing grid services to all customers.
Consumers Energy, a utility in Michigan, uses Uplight’s Marketplace to aggregate small, residential energy loads to achieve significant energy savings during peak periods. By offering rebates and monetary bonuses, the program encourages customers to install smart thermostats and enroll in Consumers Energy’s demand response program.
Southern California Edison
Southern California Edison aggregates the loads of hundreds of thousands of residential, commercial, and industrial customers to facilitate integration of distributed energy resources into wholesale energy capacity markets. While each customer separately is too small to participate in a wholesale energy market, in aggregate, they enable the utility to improve the reliability of the energy system.
Energy Efficiency as a Service
In Seattle City Light’s Energy Efficiency as a Service (EEaS) pilot program, the utility provides a long-term financing solution for carrying out deep retrofits in commercial buildings using a power-purchase-agreement structure that can last up to 20 years. The EEaS model enables the implementation of Active Efficiency strategies that are too complex and expensive or have paybacks that are too long for traditional programs.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s 50001 Ready program can help facilities, including large commercial and industrial organizations, prepare for participation in performance-based utility programs. The 50001 Ready designation is given to facilities that demonstrate continued energy performance improvement over time through implementation of an ISO 50001-compliant energy management system.
Energy Smart Industrial Program
Bonneville Power Administration‘s Energy Smart Industrial Program provides co-funding and support for industrial customers to hire an energy project manager to implement energy efficiency projects. Dedicated energy project managers can help customers set energy performance goals, prioritize energy-efficient practices, and foster internal support for investing in energy-efficient technologies or participating in energy efficiency incentive programs.