This article provides 10 tips home energy contractors can use to update their marketing outreach and improve their customer service.
This brand model, developed by the Dubberly Design Office, provides useful steps and tips for developing a new brand. Download the document for a better view. Note that the document is poster size, so zoom in for clarity.
This Guide is designed to help state and local policymakers to take full advantage of new policy developments by providing them with a comprehensive set of tools to support launching or accelerating residential energy efficiency programs. The Guide focuses on four categories of policies that have proven particularly effective in providing a framework within which residential energy efficiency programs can thrive: incentives and financing, making the value of energy efficiency visible in the real estate market, data access and standardization, and supporting utility system procurement of energy efficiency.
This report describes the effects of utility spending on efficiency programs, how those effects could constitute barriers to investment in energy efficiency, and how policy mechanisms can reduce these barriers.
This paper describes a wide variety of behavior change insights potentially applicable to the energy efficiency program context, provides examples of efficiency programs that have applied these insights, and explores some untapped opportunities to achieve energy savings through behavior change.
This report examines how to influence customer behavior and choice.
This example guide was originally designed for grantees participating in U.S. DOE's Better Buildings program from 2010 - 2014 to ensure uniform, easily recognizable national identity of the Better Buildings brand. Pages 5-9 provide useful guidance for crafting messages. It also provides messaging examples.
This publication summarizes some of the incentives offered by Better Buildings Neighborhood Program partners.
Flowcharts showing the key program elements (financing; workforce development; marketing and outreach; and data, evaluation; and reporting).
This document summarizes top takeaways shared by Better Buildings Residential Network members on Peer Exchange Calls, from tips to collaborating with utilities to cost-effective rebate models.
This document summarizes top marketing and outreach takeaways shared by Better Buildings Residential Network members during spring 2015 Peer Exchange Calls.
This Better Buildings Residential Network Partnerships Toolkit includes templates, tools, guides, and examples to help energy efficiency organizations engage in partnerships that leverage resources and strengthen their programs.
The Better Buildings Residential Network hosts a series of Peer Exchange Calls for members to discuss similar needs and challenges, and to collectively identify effective strategies and useful resources. This document provides a sample of lessons learned shared by members during Peer Exchange Calls held in fall 2014.
The goal of the Building Science Translator is to begin this process by providing a new glossary of ‘Power Words’ that can be used across the industry to consistently reinforce the value of high-performance homes. This includes applying this new language consistently to all consumer-facing materials used by government programs and industry alike.
This study focused on barriers to, and opportunities for, solar photovoltaic energy generation; opportunities for, access to other renewable energy by low-income customers; contracting opportunities for local small businesses in disadvantaged communities; low-income customers to energy efficiency and weatherization investments, including those in disadvantaged communities. It also provides recommendations on how to increase access to energy efficiency and weatherization investments to low-income customers.
This marketing strategy includes the goals and objectives the Cambridge (Massachusetts) Energy Alliance set out to meet.
Real estate professionals are increasingly aware that today’s homebuyers consider heating and cooling costs, efficient appliances, and efficient lighting to be important factors in home purchase decisions. Residential energy efficiency and real estate stakeholders, however, agree that the home resale process frequently fails to account for the value of high-performance home features. If investments in energy efficiency were more accurately reflected in home resale prices, homeowners could have greater confidence that these investments would be recouped at resale, and they might make more investments in efficiency.
This table identifies several challenges and the strategies and tactics that can be used to overcome them.
Behavioral change programs are not necessarily a separate category of efficiency efforts; rather, behavioral approaches can be effectively integrated into all programs in residential, commercial, or industrial settings. As increased connectivity within homes and businesses expands opportunities to provide energy information, the role of behavior will likely become even more prominent. Consortium for Energy Efficiency, Inc. (CEE) provides this webpage dedicated to behavior change resources.
This fact sheet provides information about energy efficiency, explains how utility and state investment in energy efficiency helps consumers, and describes what to expect from utility or state efficiency programs.
This report shares the results of a research study conducted to understand the awareness and perceptions of potential consumers regarding ductless heat pumps and heat pump water heaters. The results were intended to help the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance improve messaging and marketing themes related to these products across the northwest region.
This blog provides six tips the home performance communications professionals can use to create a new or update an existing marketing plan.
This report summarizes the issues and approaches involved in motivating customers to reduce the total energy they consume through energy prices and rate design.
This report summarizes the approaches used by energy efficiency program administrators when assessing the range of financial and other incentives to be used in energy efficiency programs.
This document provides an overview of how state policymakers, utilities, and regulators can overcome barriers to deploying customer energy information and feedback strategies.
This fact sheet provides an overview of how state policymakers, utilities, and regulators can overcome barriers to deploying customer energy information and feedback strategies.
This report provides state and local policymakers with information on successful approaches to the design and implementation of residential efficiency programs for households ineligible for low-income programs.
This report considers consumers' perspectives on policy and regulatory issues associated with the administration of energy efficiency investments funded by ratepayers of electric and natural gas utilities.
This guide provides an assessment of various approaches to Marketing & Outreach for home energy efficiency improvements.
This series of 19 tip sheets is based on the experience and expertise of EPA’s Climate Showcase Communities. The tip sheets cover a wide range of topics, such as marketing and communications (effective messaging, traditional media strategies, community-based social marketing, and testimonial videos) and working with specific types of stakeholders (institutional partners, contractors, experts, utilities, early adopters, volunteers).
This tip sheet was inspired by the experiences and expertise of EPA’s Climate Showcase Communities (CSCs). It focuses on community-based social marketing and highlights best practices and helpful resources and recommended resources for other communities interested in pursuing similar projects.
This tip sheet from EPA's Climate Showcase Communities provides lessons from programs about strategies for effective messaging as well as recommended resources.
This tip sheet was inspired by the experiences and expertise of EPA’s Climate Showcase Communities (CSCs). It focuses on traditional media strategies and highlights best practices and helpful resources and recommended resources for other communities interested in pursuing similar projects.
This report presents best practices for operating successful portfolio-level efficiency programs, including assessing efficiency potential, cost-effectiveness screening, and developing a portfolio of approaches.
SEEA created this document to inform the planning, design and delivery of early-stage energy efficiency programs in the Southeast. This document captures general concepts essential to the successful development and implementation of robust program portfolios, as well as lessons learned from prior experience on the regional and national levels.
In 2014, ACEEE launched a pilot program to test a variety of behavioral strategies to promote energy efficiency among tenants in low- to moderate-income multifamily housing in Takoma Park, Maryland. The program included behavioral messaging, events, educational information, and the distribution of energy saving devices. ACEEE measured energy use in the months before and after the pilot. The white paper includes these results, insights for the development of future behavioral change programs, and recommended engagement strategies for targeted communities.
This guide is designed to serve as a "how-to" reference for island communities (or small, similarly sized, more isolated communities) that want to develop and implement a residential energy-efficiency and conservation program. The purpose of this guide is to help communities chart a course for successful program development based on the lessons learned during implementation and operation of RePower Bainbridge, an energy-efficiency program on Bainbridge Island, Washington.
The Brand Book describes the implementation of the ENERGY STAR® logo for ENERGY STAR partners that are labeling a product, new home, or building that has earned the ENERGY STAR. The Brand Book also provides information about designing a new outreach campaign and using the ENERGY STAR® logo to communicating the program's commitment to energy efficiency.
This report outlines where costs and energy savings can be achieved and dives into strategies that utilities and multi-family building owners can use to create a more effective partnership. With an understanding that states and local regions sometimes can lack energy efficiency policies, this report outlines ways to go beyond what's required and move the efficiency discussion forward in expanding the resources available for energy efficiency upgrades.
This paper presents obstacles to increasing lender and consumer participation in energy efficiency financing identified by a group of small to mid-size lenders, and offers recommendations to the energy efficiency community to foster growth in the market for energy efficiency financing.
Building on the strategy of creating a sustainable workplace, many companies have been focusing their efforts on developing a sustainable workforce. This approach to combining sustainability initiatives and employee engagement creates a value chain that has positive impacts for employers and employees alike and the communities they live in.
This report analyzes ten categories of utility-sector energy efficiency programs that have achieved high participation among targeted customer markets. Despite issues with the nature and availability of participation data, the study draws on published data sources and interviews with program contacts and industry experts to identify many examples of programs that have achieved high participation.
This report is the first comparative analysis of utility-run behavior programs. It lays the groundwork for further program development by developing a classification scheme, or taxonomy, that sorts programs into discrete categories. This study counted 281 such programs, many with multiple iterations, offered by 114 energy providers and third parties between 2008 and 2013. After sorting programs by distinguishing features such as delivery channel and incentive type, the study arrived at 20 major program categories grouped in three large families: Cognition Programs, Calculus Programs, and Social Interaction Programs.
There are more than 17 million multifamily households nationwide, yet they remain a significant and mostly untapped opportunity for energy efficiency gains. Many cities and states that have embraced energy retrofitting as a job creator and boon to both the environment and economy have yet to address potential savings in multifamily properties, primarily because of obstacles not faced by single family and commercial properties. This paper discusses two barriers -- a lack of information and financing -- that stand in the way of multifamily energy retrofits.
This document summarizes discussions and recommendations from a forum for practitioners and policymakers aiming to strengthen residential energy efficiency program design and delivery for middle income households.
This blog summarizes how BetterBuildings for Michigan, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Better Buildings Neighborhood Program partner, developed a "readiness scale" to help target communities by determining the factors that indicate whether homeowners in a particular area are really ready to commit to energy efficiency upgrades.
This article promotes the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance’s 2012 U.S. Green Building Council /Business Courier Green Business Award for Education/Outreach - Nonprofit. The award celebrated the program’s outreach approach of reaching out to homeowners directly through community engagement and neighborhood canvassing.
This paper explores ways in which program administrators are using social norms to spur behavior change and, as a result, curb energy use. In recent years, home energy reports (HER) programs have applied the concept of social norms to the energy efficiency context. These feedback programs inform customers of how their energy consumption compares to their neighbors' and provide other information about their usage, with the goal of enticing customers to change their energy use behavior to improve their relative neighborhood ranking.
This paper first details industry best practices for contest administration, including tips for developing an overall contest plan and timeline, product sponsor recruitment, building a dynamic informational website, maximizing customer participation, selecting the winning home, seamless installation management, capturing and documenting project results, conducting a high profile media open house and facilitating customer workshops that educate homeowners and strengthen trade ally relationships. This paper then presents results and key lessons learned from more than 20 contests supported with funds from local community sustainability programs, utility energy efficiency programs, and U.S. Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds between 2008 and 2012.
Research reveals a whole range of unmet housing-related desires in America -- gaps between what Americans have and what they say they need or want. The Demand Institute surveyed more than 10,000 households about their current living situation and what’s important to them in a home. The survey represents all U.S. households: renters and owners; movers and non-movers; young and old and finds that unsatisfied needs and desires cut across the entire population.
The test referenced in this article found that the pronoun used in a call-to-action button can make a big difference in whether people click on the button or not.
This report provides data from nationwide utility customer satisfaction surveys and two case studies to encourage utilities to offer high-quality energy efficiency programs and services for their customers.
A recent cost vs. value report compared the average cost for popular remodeling projects with the value those projects retain at resale value in 100 different U.S. markets. This Home Energy article discusses how one of the most valuable remodeling options is one you can’t see--energy efficiency.
The report, the second in a series of reports on smart meters, presents concrete examples of findings from behavior analytics research using data that are immediately useful and relevant, including proof-of-concept analytics techniques that can be adapted and used by others, novel discoveries that answer important policy questions, and guidelines and protocols that summarize best practices for analytics and evaluation.
This publication presents examples of the value that insights from behavior analytics can provide to programs (as well as pointing out its limitations).
Over the past 30 years, program administrators have concentrated on investment behavior change -- that is getting their customers to install things like insulation and lighting systems using various behavior change tools such as marketing, education, rebates, and technical assistance to support the investment behavior change. Today, as program administrators move to expand the range of behavior change strategies in their portfolios, it is often difficult to know where to begin. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) began by detailing the range of behavior change strategies and identifying strategic opportunities.
This document features lessons learned shared by Better Buildings Residential Network members during Peer Exchange Calls held during Autumn 2016.
This document features lessons learned shared by Better Buildings Residential Network members during Peer Exchange Calls held during Fall 2015.
This document features lessons learned shared by Better Buildings Residential Network members during Peer Exchange Calls held in Winter 2016.
This document features lessons learned shared by Better Buidlings Residential Network members during Peer Exchange Calls held during Spring 2016.
Energy burden is the percentage of household income spent on home energy bills. In this report, ACEEE, along with the Energy Efficiency for All coalition, measures the energy burden of households in 48 of the largest American cities. The report finds that low-income, African-American, Latino, low-income multifamily, and renter households all spend a greater proportion of their income on utilities than the average family. The report also identifies energy efficiency as an underutilized strategy that can help reduce high energy burdens by as much as 30%. Given this potential, the report goes on to describe policies and programs to ramp up energy efficiency investments in low-income and underserved communities.
This publication draws on recent focus groups, polls, and other research to chart a path promoting energy efficiency through language and imagery in ways that tap public enthusiasm.
This report provides an overview of market segmentation purpose, examples and methodologies.
This presentation covers details of an in-store market test for Super-Efficient Dryer (SED) marketing collateral. Five different marketing message concepts were created based on previous consumer research. The concepts include: an image, a headline of the key benefit, and a brief product description to drive credibility.
This plan was jointly developed by gas and electric companies in the state of Massachusetts to set aggressive goals for 2013-2015 through a sustained and integrated statewide energy efficiency effort in accordance with Green Communities Act.
Research traditions across the social sciences have explored the drivers of individual behavior change and proposed different models of decision making. In this paper, four diverse perspectives are reviewed: conventional and behavioral economics, technology adoption theory and attitude-based decision making, social and environmental psychology, and sociology. This paper concludes with how to develop a more integrated approach to both behavioral change research and intervention design in a residential energy context.
This report shares the results of focus groups that were convened by the U.S. Department of Energy to identify what motivates people to undertake home energy improvements.
This report provides the results of the Consortium for Energy Efficiency-sponsored 2013 ENERGY STAR Household Survey, which collects national data on consumer recognition, understanding, and purchasing influence of the ENERGY STAR label, as well as data on messaging and product purchases.
This report is a comprehensive research study of energy efficiency in Northwest residential buildings. It includes a metering study, a single-family report, a manufactured homes report, and a multi-family report. In addition, it includes state-by-state energy use reports, as well as end-use consumption data.
This report shares strategies for marketing local energy efficiency programs, particularly through focused messaging, leveraging partnerships, and social media.
This report provides an overview of residential customer information and behavior efficiency programs, and identifies key challenges to and solutions for increasing the penetration of these programs nationwide.
This report, informed by leading research and real-world examples, highlights practical online and in-person tactics that contractors can use to promote social interaction and social comparison among homeowners to make energy upgrades a "must-have" in U.S. homes.
This report from Climate Solutions analyzes small- to medium-sized American cities that are using successful methods to further clean energy economic development. Better Buildings Neighborhood Program partners that are featured in the report include Bainbridge Island and Bremerton, Washington; Boulder, Colorado; Bedford, New York; Madison, Wisconsin; and Grand Rapids, Michigan. The report includes details on the how the featured cities funded their projects, found successful models to reach their goals, and to see which new projects are off to a promising start.
This report profiles the early results of a diverse range of small- to medium-sized American cities with different economic and energy profiles that are pioneering the clean energy economy. Many communities used federal grants to jumpstart long-term strategies to test and refine various clean energy and energy efficiency solutions. Others developed innovative financing strategies in the absence of grant money. These city-led efforts to catalyze local clean energy economic development are important to watch as federal grants sunset, especially in the absence of a comprehensive national energy or climate policy.
The multifamily sector can be hard to reach when it comes to energy efficiency programs. Besides being diverse and complex, the sector presents a unique set of challenges to efficiency investments. The result is that multifamily customers are often underserved by energy efficiency programs. Drawing on data requests and interviews with program administrators, this report summarizes the challenges to program participation and identifies best practices that programs can use to reach and retain large numbers of multifamily participants.
The Residential Retrofit Program Design Guide focuses on the key elements and design characteristics of building and maintaining a successful residential energy upgrade program. The material is presented as a guide for program design and planning from start to finish, laid out in chronological order of program development.
This podcast episode explores sustainability and the unexpected benefits of energy efficiency with guest Jonathan Cohen, U.S. Department of Energy.
This report describes how customer usage data can help promote the adoption of retro-commissioning polices for public and private commercial buildings.
As part of the Rhode Island Energy Challenge, National Grid called on its Rhode Island residential electric and gas customers to take a pledge to “Find Your Four” as part of a statewide community initiative to encourage homeowners to find four ways to save energy at home. A participant survey revealed that Rhode Island residential customers liked hearing energy conservation/efficiency information via the Challenge; the Challenge had them thinking and acting differently; and the Challenge had customers participating more actively in energy efficiency programs. This report provides more information on the campaign’s major impact in helping National Grid accomplish important goals, including those related to portfolio savings and customer-centric program outreach and engagement.
This fact sheet discusses how energy efficiency helps families use less energy to meet their energy needs, such as heating and cooling their homes, washing clothes, and watching television. Investing in efficiency saves money in utility bills while providing families with many other benefits.
Energy efficiency is good for you--and for the air you breathe, the water you drink, and the community in which you live. This fact sheet shows how saving energy reduces air and water pollution and conserves natural resources, which in turn creates a healthier living environment for people everywhere. It includes the stories of a family in Pennsylvania and a hospital in Florida.
This report helps policymakers understand how electric and natural gas utilities can achieve greater efficiency by establishing numeric energy savings targets and goals for energy efficiency programs.
This report explains the psychology of individual energy efficiency actions, and how large scale behavior change programs can use this research to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
A number of states are beginning to recognize Demand Reduction Induced Price Effects (DRIPE) as a real, quantifiable benefit of energy efficiency and demand response programs. DRIPE is a measurement of the value of demand reductions in terms of the decrease in wholesale energy prices, resulting in lower total expenditures on electricity or natural gas across a given grid. This paper reviews the existing knowledge and experience from select U.S. states regarding DRIPE (including New York and Ohio), and the potential for expanded application of the concept of DRIPE by regulators.
These 16 state-specific fact sheets report on the results of the Residential Energy Consumption Survey. The fact sheets highlight: overall energy use, electricity use, and expenditures; residential consumption by end use (air conditioning, heating, appliances); main heating fuel; use of cooling equipment; housing types and year of construction; and numbers of televisions and refrigerators.
This report describes ACEEE's Deep South Ethnographic Project, which aimed to answer an overarching question: are end-users of energy in the Southeastern states interested in energy efficiency? This report includes the demographics of ACEEE's informants and responses to a set of questions about energy usage, bills, and money. The report also includes individual case studies from five different sites.
With so much to gain, how can we optimize low-income energy efficiency programs to maximize the benefits for financially vulnerable citizens, as well as program implementers and the broader population of ratepayers? This paper shares four important lessons for engaging low-income customers based on Opower’s experience in partnering with utilities to serve the low-income population.
This article discusses valuing high performance houses in the appraisal process.
Among the many benefits ascribed to energy efficiency is the fact that it can help create jobs. Although this is often used to motivate investments in efficiency programs, verifying job creation benefits is more complicated than it might seem at first. This paper identifies some of the issues that contribute to a lack of consistency in attempts to verify efficiency-related job creation. It then proposes an analytically rigorous and tractable framework for program evaluators to use in future assessments.
This radio interview highlights how the NeighborWorks program in Vermont is raising awareness of home energy efficiency measures among residents through neighbor-to-neighbor outreach.
Homebuyers are not only increasingly interested in high-performance homes, or homes incorporating green features, but they are also willing to pay more for them. This report finds that high-performance homes marketed with green features (such as a solar photovoltaic array or LEED certification) sell for a mean premium of 3.46 percent compared to homes without green features.
This blog post outlines basic needs for a successful marketing program: a plan; a budget; and to launch, track, evaluate, adjust, repeat.