U.S. Department of Energy Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy U.S. Department of Energy Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

How can I improve my program’s assessment-to-upgrade conversion rate?

While many energy efficiency programs offer subsidized or even free home energy assessments as a first step toward enticing people to undertake home energy upgrade projects, assessments do not necessarily lead to completed projects. A program’s success hinges on converting assessments into home energy upgrades. High conversion rates (i.e., the percent of projects that progress from energy assessments to energy upgrades) are achieved through skilled salesmanship by contractors and a positive and timely customer experience, with the help of incentives or financing. Many programs struggle to reach their upgrade goals because they allow excited customers to lose interest. By incentivizing specific actions for homeowners to take by offering rebates or low-interest financing, for example, program administrators can motivate customers to undertake upgrades. Deadlines create a sense of urgency and have been used effectively to motivate homeowners to action. In addition, some programs use an energy advisor or coach to guide homeowners through the upgrade process and ensure a positive customer experience.


Learn more with the following Solution Center resources:

Topical Resources

  • Author: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
    Publication Date: 2011

    This Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Clean Energy Policy Brief describes how adding sales skills to contractors' existing technical expertise helps convert more assessments into comprehensive home energy upgrades. It profiles Efficiency Maine's contractor sales training and includes a list of resources.

  • Author: U.S. Department of Energy
    Publication Date: 2016

    This summary from a Better Buildings Residential Network peer exchange call focused on strategies for contractor training.

  • Author: U.S. Department of Energy
    Publication Date: 2015

    This summary from a Better Buildings Residential Network peer exchange call focused on how programs can mentor contractors by providing sales and business training which can help contractor make more sales and become more profitable. The call also covered top tips for supporting contractors, such as helping contractors develop systems to be more efficient in completing projects and creating a service plan with customers for additional improvements in the future.

  • Author: U.S. Department of Energy
    Publication Date: 2013

    This summary from a Better Buildings Residential Network peer exchange call focused on trends in contractor conversion rates.

  • Author: U.S. Department of Energy
    Publication Date: 2013

    This peer exchange call summary focused on moving from assessments to upgrades in multifamily buildings.

Examples

Tools & Templates

  • Author: U.S. Department of Energy
    Publication Date: 2016

    This toolkit was designed to help residential energy efficiency program managers identify resources and opportunities to help contractors, staff, and volunteers enhance their understanding of building science; sales and marketing; program offerings; and business development.

Handbooks

  • See the step: Develop messages to motivate action. This step provides information about how to use market research to craft messages that will motivate customers.
  • See the step: Build on what works and adjust as needed. This step discusses the importance of taking stock during the early days of your marketing campaigns, as well as later in the program, to determine what is working (and what is not) and make adjustments as needed.
  • See the steps: Identify barriers to overcome with customers; Determine how you will deliver services. These steps cover understanding what barriers are keeping customers from pursuing home energy upgrades and what your program can do to overcome those barriers as well as deciding which model you will use to deliver program services to your customers.
  • See the steps: Track quantitative and qualitative information for assessing program process and impacts; Regularly review and assess program metrics and feedback to determine what is working well and what is not. These steps discuss improving your program’s efficiency and effectiveness through regular information collection and assessment.
  • The steps in this handbook provide information on how to solidify your program strategy and how you will partner with contractors and others to deliver services to your customers.