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

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Residential energy efficiency programs striving to improve conversion rates from customer interest to completed upgrades have realized that contractors are typically the primary link between customers and their programs. Many successful programs have empowered contractors to promote program services through sales training and co-marketing. A comprehensive evaluation of over 140 programs across the United States found that successful programs have contractors who are skilled at helping...

Piquing customers’ interest in an energy-efficient home is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to encouraging upgrades. Many programs struggle to reach their upgrade goals because they allow initially excited customers to lose interest. By incentivizing specific actions for homeowners to take, however, program administrators can motivate customers to undertake upgrades. Successful residential energy efficiency programs have found that incentivizing specific actions or energy...

With all the other things that compete for homeowners’ time and attention, programs that simplify the upgrade process for customers and streamline processes are the ones that get results. Programs can encourage and motivate action by making participation straightforward and easy and providing energy advisors to walk customers through the process. ...

Energy upgrades can make homes safer and reduce residents’ health risks. Because energy efficiency programs help improve residents’ quality of life, their missions are consistent with other organizations focused on public health, low-income housing, or local economic development. Following is a sample of how successful residential energy efficiency programs have leveraged the complementary benefits of energy efficiency to create new partnership opportunities and funding sources....

Looking to appeal to a broader range of diverse residential energy efficiency customers? Consider offering a select number of program options with different levels of cost and complexity. According to a comprehensive evaluation of more than 140 programs across the United States, programs that offer several paths for customers to upgrade their homes were found to have greater participation and to generate higher energy savings. ...

Once home energy upgrades are underway, energy efficiency programs want to avoid call-backs and enhance their reputation. Because the quality of work that affiliated contractors conduct in customers’ homes reflects on the whole program, it’s important to ensure quality work; however, verifying a consistent level of quality can be challenging. Better Buildings Neighborhood Program partners and Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Sponsors have found that having a clear process for...

The upfront cost of an energy upgrade can derail homeowners interested in home performance improvements.  One program strategy for making projects more affordable is to offer financing; however, complicated loan application and approval processes can cause delays. Streamlining the loan application process is an effective way to remove this process barrier. By reducing the number of requirements that homeowners must meet to secure a loan, and by accelerating loan application processing,...

Financing allows homeowners to pay for energy improvements over time and invest in higher-cost upgrades than they might be able to afford without it. Some programs offer tiered financing or rebates to encourage upgrades with deeper savings, with terms that grow more favorable as more energy saving measures are pursued. Tiered financing can encourage customers to pursue more ambitious projects. ...

Financial incentives—from rebates to lower interest rates—can help residential energy efficiency programs attract customers’ attention. Deadlines can create a sense of urgency and motivate homeowners to action on home energy upgrades. Many programs successfully established time limits on financial incentives and saw participation dramatically increase. ...