Establishing written data collection agreements will clarify data ownership, privacy, permission, types of data, and procedures for transferring data a program will obtain. Data collection agreements signed by homeowners are typically required for utilities to release billing data to a program or contractor; programs might also need to establish a formal agreement with lenders for any kind of data sharing. Program administrators are responsible for protecting consumer privacy and ensuring that all relevant parties use the appropriate forms, obtain data owner permissions, and avoid the release of confidential data.
Data exchange specifications help facilitate the transfer of data between software systems used by a program and its partners or stakeholders. A standard specification for transferring data reduces the need to develop a data transfer protocol each time two systems need to transfer information. Home performance XML (HPXML) is one emerging example for transferring data collected during an in-home assessment to a program’s IT system.
Managing data quality requires establishing processes to ensure that data collected is accurate and used appropriately for evaluative purposes. Inaccurate or misleading data can invalidate evaluation results and negatively impact program performance. Strategies for data quality management include establishing data collection processes that minimize the risk of collecting bad data (e.g., pre-populated fields, testing of data collection forms/tools, clear directions and training for anyone collecting program data), desk-auditing collected data for perceived anomalies, onsite verification, and other strategies.
Deep energy upgrades aim to save at least 50% total energy use in homes. Work scopes are based on whole building assessments that review all building systems together. In addition to focusing on reducing energy use, deep energy upgrades often also address issues such as moisture control and ventilation which may be affected by upgrade measures.
Demonstration homes and displays allow potential customers to see energy efficiency improvements that have been completed in neighborhood homes and speak directly to homeowners and/or contractors about the process and its results.