The Building Performance Database (BPD) is the nation's largest dataset of information about the energy-related characteristics of commercial and residential buildings. The BPD combines, cleanses and anonymizes data collected by Federal, State and local governments, utilities, energy efficiency programs, building owners and private companies, and makes it available to the public. The web site allows users to explore the data across real estate sectors and regions, and compare various physical and operational characteristics to gain a better understanding of market conditions and trends in energy performance.
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This summary from a Better Buildings Residential Network peer exchange call focused on targeted marketing strategies that can be used to craft successful outreach initiatives and communications. It also covered challenges and best practices for engaging specific demographics, including hard-to-reach market segments such as Hispanics, and provided insights into Hispanics relationship with energy.
Focusing on Colorado Springs, Colorado, as a case study, the U.S. Department of Energy's Building America research team IBACOS suggests a win-win between a builder's investment in energy efficiency and that builder's ability to sell homes. Although this research did not ultimately determine why a correlation may exist, a builder's investment in voluntary energy-efficiency programs correlated with that builder's ability to survive the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009. This report explores the relationship between energy-efficiency ratings and the market performance of several builders in Colorado Springs.
This business plan outlines California Central Coast Regional Energy Network's (3C-REN) core design elements - the crucial component of a phased implementation approach to overcome potential barriers, forecasted budget requirements - and shows how measuring success with a comprehensive set of metrics and tools will lead to the anticipated program improvement outcomes and market transformation goals.
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.
The presentation covers evaluation findings from California’s Statewide Marketing, Education and Outreach (SW ME&O) program.
This report presents findings from the Cross-Cutting Process Study of California’s 2013-2015 Marketing, Education and Outreach (ME&O) efforts. This study has three overarching goals: to assess how well coordination occurs between the Statewide ME&O administrator and the Investor Owned Utility (IOU) and Regional Energy Network (REN) Program Administrators (PAs); to document ME&O design and implementation activities, and to document how consumers engage with ME&O.
The purpose of this study is to document the effects of California’s Statewide Marketing, Education and Outreach (SW ME&O) program. The primary objective of this study is to assess the effectiveness of SW ME&O efforts overall, as well as against established performance metrics.
The presentation covers evaluation results and recommendations for California’s Statewide Marketing, Education and Outreach (SW ME&O) program.
This case study features Better Buildings Residential Network members Elevate Energy and the International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology (ICAST), nonprofit members that develop energy efficiency solutions for multifamily and affordable housing communities.
This report explores how governments and energy efficiency implementers could help stakeholders better analyze and act upon building performance data to unlock savings.
This paper presents results from three surveys of homeowners, renters, and contractors, which compared their perceptions and priorities for healthy housing to the principles of indoor air and environmental quality. Survey results indicate that: nearly one quarter of homeowners had some concern about healthy-home problems or risks; homeowners cited indoor air quality issues as their leading concern, followed by water quality, harmful materials and chemicals, and indoor environmental quality (such as noise or light pollution).
This paper defines customer engagement, illustrates how engagement platforms can be used in energy efficiency programs, and presents guidelines to help program administrators plan, design, implement, and evaluate a modern, integrated, and efficient customer engagement platform. It also covers how advances in big data and tracking systems can support platforms that are technology-enabled, center on customer needs, leverage psychosocial drivers and data analytics, and employ mechanisms to foster long-term trust and loyalty. Effective customer engagement can also lead to higher satisfaction levels, greater energy savings, and more persistence of savings.
This summary from a Better Buildings Residential Network peer exchange call focused on how energy efficiency could be used to achieve other goals. It features speakers from the City of Orlando and Seattle City Light.
This report identifies opportunities for Connecticut's Home Energy Solutions program (HES) to increase savings related to air sealing, duct sealing, and insulation.
This report is the process evaluation of the Connecticut Multifamily (MF) Initiative, which leveraged the state's Home Energy Solutions (HES) and Home Energy Solutions-Income Eligible (HES-IE) programs. The objective of this process evaluation is to provide actionable recommendations about how to improve the design, delivery, and administration of the MF Initiative.
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 presentation covers the public process to encourage stakeholder participation and input in developing the criteria for a comparative assessment of energy efficiency financing programs.
Several recent studies purport to show that particular energy efficiency programs and policies do not work or are too expensive. This short paper is written for people who are not evaluation experts and are trying to understand what conclusions they can take from these studies. We examine many of these papers and find that while they do have some useful findings, they often include a variety of unreasonable assumptions or outright mistakes that undermine their conclusions. Based on this review, we offer several recommendations on ways we can constructively move forward.
This report is a guide to all customer-facing financing products—products offered by a lender directly to a borrower—used to pay for energy efficiency. Intended for state and local governments that are deciding whether to start a new program, tune up and existing program, or create a Green Bank, it provides information on the full range of financing product options for target participants, the tradeoffs of various products, and potential advantages and disadvantages for different types of customers.
This presentation describes National Grid's experience with customer behavior and engagement through the implementation of its smart grid pilot program.
This summary from a Better Buildings Residential Network peer exchange call focused on how organizations can diversify and grow new revenue streams and types of financing approaches used to make resources stretch further and help homeowners finance upgrades. Speakers include Connecticut Green Bank, Sealed, and Craft3.
This summary from a Better Buildings Residential Network peer exchange call focused on communicating non-energy benefits that homeowners and building owners are most interested in. Speakers include Elevate Energy, Green & Healthy Homes Initiative, and Skumatz Economic Research Associates, Inc.
This presentation describes a U.S. Department of Energy workshop to gather stakeholder feedback on the utility and credibility of existing methods to estimate behavior-based, energy efficiency potential. It offers a review of existing studies of behavior-based energy efficiency potential and the prevalent methodologies used to estimate savings potential.
DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes Orientation Webinar
The DOE Zero Energy Ready Home represents a whole new level of home performance, with rigorous requirements that ensure outstanding levels of energy savings, comfort, health, and durability. This presentation provides an overview of the Zero Energy Ready Home program including the business case and how to be recognized by DOE as an industry leader. Builders and energy raters will also learn how to quickly become DOE Zero Energy Ready Home Partners and begin qualifying homes.
This webinar explored innovative measures Better Buildings Challenge partners have taken to improve water efficiency while reducing energy use. United Technologies Corporation discussed their impressive water reduction goals and best practices in managing water, while also focusing on energy management strategies at diverse manufacturing sites. The City of Atlanta discussed their new, high-efficiency pumping station and how the efforts of large-scale users to reduce water use can help the City reduce both water and energy use. InterContinental Hotels Group highlighted their worldwide water management program, which includes metering and tracking consumption and water efficiency strategies.
This summary from a Better Buildings Residential Network peer exchange call focused on how home energy upgrades can support electric vehicle adoption.
This insight brief covers the set of standardized consumer protections for property assessed clean energy (PACE) programs that go above and beyond state legislative requirements and are recommended for universal adoption by state and local governments and bond-issuing entities.
The COOL SMART impact evaluation team conducted an in situ study of ductless mini‐split heat pumps (DMSHPs) in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. This report presents the consumption and savings analysis of the DMSHP study.
Home heating is the largest energy expense for most U.S. homeowners and accounts for nearly 30% of energy used in the nation's residential buildings. Millions of homeowners in colder regions of the country do not have natural gas available, leaving furnaces to be fueled with heating oil, propane, or electricity. This can often result in higher heating bills for homeowners. However, soon, these 2.6 million homeowners living in cold climates will have another, efficient home heating option. Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), collaborating with Emerson Climate Technologies, developed a prototype for an air-source heat pump for the colder regions of the country--one that heats better and uses significantly less energy.
This report presents the results from a comprehensive impact and process evaluation of Efficiency Maine's Low-Income Multifamily Weatherization Program.
This summary from a Better Buildings Residential Network peer exchange call focused on how to deploy smart home technologies and analyze their data.
This white paper from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory describes the benefits and costs of energy advisors, and describes how residential energy efficiency programs have made use of them in their program design.
This guide is designed to help state and local governments reduce carbon emissions by connecting them with EPA programs that can help them expand or develop their own energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives in ways that benefit low-income communities. The guide can also be used by low-income community leaders and stakeholder groups to better understand how they might participate in and take advantage of EPA initiatives to help their communities save energy.
This paper examines the current state of energy efficiency financing, highlighting segments of strength such as cars, green buildings, and energy service companies, and offering areas that are underserved, including residential low-income and moderate-income households and multifamily housing.
This presentation outlines Duquesne Light Company's multifamily energy efficiency program, including its multifamily market manager model, program services, implementation strategy, program eligibility components, and a case study on a local housing authority project.
This paper describes the current state of energy efficiency financing, highlighting what is and isn’t working, while offering a look at the future of the industry.
The report, based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data and a survey of tens of thousands of businesses across the country, provides detailed breakdowns of clean energy jobs not available previously, and it was developed and released in connection with a major U.S. Department of Energy study of all energy jobs in America.
This summary from a Better Buildings Residential Network peer exchange call focused on using international energy trends to inform programs in the United States.
This summary from a Better Buildings Residential Network peer exchange call focused on demonstration project strategies, advantages and challenges.
The energy efficiency reporting tool for public power utilities is an Excel-based template is designed to produce consistent, useful metrics on program investments and performance for small to medium-sized administrators of public power efficiency programs.
This case study addresses multifamily energy upgrade experiences by two members of the Better Buildings Residential Network—Elevate Energy and the International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology (ICAST).
This online tool was designed to help Americans save money and energy by improving the energy efficiency of their homes through recommended, customized, and prioritized home improvement projects. The tool guides homeowners through a do-it-yourself energy assessment to create an ENERGY STAR home profile. Based on the newly created profile, the tool provides customized, prioritized recommendations for improvements. From these recommendations, users can create their own to-do lists of projects and update their home profiles over time as they make improvements. The home profiles can also be printed and used as a marketing advantage when homeowners sell their homes.
This report presents the process evaluation results on the statewide Home Upgrade Program and includes findings on program operations, participant engagement, non-energy impacts, contractor characteristics, and contractor-customer interactions.
This presentation covers Energy Upgrade California marketing plan to educate and empower businesses and consumers across the state of California to promote energy efficient practices and product.
Enhance Your Home Inspection Business with Home Energy Score
Using the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) free Home Energy Score, home inspectors can provide a miles-per-gallon type rating to their clients. By offering the rating and accompanying recommendations for efficiency improvements, home inspectors can help clients become eligible for mortgage incentives from FHA.
This report presents findings of a process evaluation of Cape Light Compact's Creating Awareness for Power Efficiency Initiative, which included in-depth interviews with 27 customers of varying participation levels. It also includes the results of an impact evaluation using econometric analysis to estimate savings.
Evaluation of Residential Behavior-Based Programs
Residential behavior-based (BB) programs use strategies grounded in the behavioral and social sciences to influence household energy use. These programs have unique evaluation challenges and usually require different evaluation methods than those currently employed for most other types of efficiency programs. This webcast provides an introduction to documenting the energy savings associated with BB programs and examples of how different jurisdictions are addressing BB program evaluation.
This report includes evaluation analysis and findings from the Eversource New Hampshire Home Energy Report pilot program.
This example home performance scorecard shows how a contractor compares to anonymized top and bottom scoring companies, based on their quality of measured installations, scope of work, customer satisfaction, and energy savings achieved.
Through field-testing and analysis, this project evaluated whole-building approaches and estimated the relative contributions of select technologies toward reducing energy use related to space conditioning in new manufactured homes. Three lab houses of varying designs were built and tested side-by-side under controlled conditions in Russellville, Alabama. The tests provided a valuable indicator of how changes in the construction of manufactured homes can contribute to significant reductions in energy use.
This case study features New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation (NYCEEC), a member that focuses on financing energy efficiency and clean energy upgrades for multifamily buildings in the city and surrounding communities.
This summary from a Better Buildings Residential Network peer exchange call focused on approaches organizations can use to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of home upgrade programs, including strategies to streamline data entry and make continuous process improvements.
Focus on Energy created these co-branding and logo requirements that trade allies, or participating contractors, must adhere to when creating marketing materials related to the program.
This summary from a Better Buildings Residential Network peer exchange call focused on obtaining and using energy efficiency data through tools like the Green Button, smart connected thermostat pilots, and operational ratings of homes to evaluate and/or enhance programs.
This document provides guidance on how policymakers, utilities, and regulators should approach whole-building data access to maintain the confidentiality of utility customers.
This summary from a Better Buildings Residential Network peer exchange call focused on messaging strategies to capture the benefits of home upgrades and attract new customers to home performance.
Combining health and home performance (HHP) offers unprecedented potential to increase market size and benefits. Poorly performing homes due to roofing, heating, electrical, or water issues, are associated with issues, such as respiratory illness, asthma, and injury. DOE is undertaking three initiatives: 1) A review of existing HHP literature; 2) Stakeholder engagement; and 3) Developing a roadmap to expand HHP.
This summary from a Better Buildings Residential Network peer exchange call focused on the intersection between solar and residential energy efficiency. Speakers include Ecolibrium3 and Local Energy Alliance Program (LEAP).
This summary from a Better Buildings Residential Network peer exchange call focused on using smart thermostats and other smart home technologies. Speakers include CLEAResult, Nest Labs, and Vermont Energy Investment Corporation.
This summary from a Better Buildings Residential Network peer exchange call focused on the ACEEE Summer Study, which brought together experts to discuss the technological basis for, and practical implementation of, actions to reduce energy use and the climate impacts associated with buildings.
The primary objective of the quantitative research phase of this survey was to get market-based feedback and insights in the following areas to assist the industry in better serving its constituents, including: insights as to major challenges that industry is facing and potential support that organizations could provide and feedback on how industry organizations could add value for constituents in the future.
This presentation covers Home Energy Reports (HER), a behavior change strategy, and conducting multilevel modeling to garner insights into which consumers drive energy savings.
This summary from a Better Buildings Residential Network peer exchange call focused on effective strategies to ensure that HVAC contractors do high-quality work and recommend the most appropriate systems for homeowners.
This summary from a Better Buildings Residential Network peer exchange call focused on effective messages to motivate homeowners to undertake upgrades over time.
This summary from a Better Buildings Residential Network peer exchange call focused on approaches organizations can use for moving homeowners from HVAC or other individual improvements to whole home upgrades and encouraging homeowners to undertake upgrades over time.
This literature review describes what is currently known about the occupant health benefits resulting from residential energy efficiency or work that is consistent with home performance upgrades. Of particular interest are the occupant health impacts associated with work typically conducted by the home performance industry, such as: air sealing and insulation; properly-sized, selected, matched, and installed energy efficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems; identification and correction of moisture problems; proper whole house and room ventilation; lighting; and additional services including the replacement of appliances; measurement and installation of whole house and room air filtration systems (e.g., air purifiers); and basic pest exclusion. The intent of this literature review is to examine research that assessed work that would not be expected to harm residents or the workers.
Energy retrofits can harm or help resident health. Beyond preventing harm, this presentation covers how to use energy retrofits as an opportunity to improve the lives of your building residents and the surrounding community. It focuses on different ways that organizations are using energy efficiency to improve their communities through positive health outcomes and job creation.
A car is only as efficient as its driver and its mechanic; so, too, for buildings. This presentation covers best practices and reviews case studies on engaging building residents and training facilities managers to keep buildings running efficiently and meeting Better Buildings Challenge goals.
This report presents the results of the evaluation of National Grid Rhode Island's 2014 EnergyWise program. EnergyWise is designed to achieve energy savings in single family (1-4 unit) residential homes by directly installing efficient lightbulbs and water heating measures, providing devices for homeowner use, and offering building shell retrofit rebates.
This case study of Arizona Public Service (APS) and Arizona’s HPwES Sponsor, FSL Home Energy Solutions (FSL), focuses on their continuous improvements designed to elevate customer and contractor experience while boosting program cost-effectiveness.
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.
This report discusses indoor air quality issues, including: wildfire smoke, dampness, and mold, and the effect of energy efficiency upgrades on these health-related issues. The report describes current state policies and programs in these areas, highlighting approaches for consideration by other jurisdictions.
This summary from a Better Buildings Residential Network peer exchange call focused on innovative technology like ductless heat pumps and research in technology including wireless sensors for building monitoring applications and air-source heat pumps.
This publication explores the behavioral factors behind individual homeowners' use of energy, and what might change those behaviors. The chapters cover: (1) Leverage Points for Achieving Sustainable Consumption in Homeowner Energy Use; (2) Evaluating the Theoretical Justification for Tailored Energy Interventions; (3) Quantifying the Value of Home Energy Improvements; (4) Considering the Effect of Incorporating Home Energy Performance Ratings Into Real Estate Listings; (5) Energy Efficiency 101: Improving Energy Knowledge in Neighborhoods; (6) Enhancing Home Energy Efficiency Through Natural Hazard Risk Reduction: Linking Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation in the Home; (7) Leveraging the Employer-Employee Relationship to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions at the Residential Level; and (8) Increasing the Effectiveness of Residential Energy Efficiency Programs.
Achieving energy savings goals and improving customer and contractor satisfaction while staying cost-effective makes managing home energy upgrade programs challenging. DOE's Home Upgrade Program Accelerator is working with program administrators to identify strategies that overcome challenges and achieve better results. The Arizona Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program completed process improvements that improved contractor satisfaction and deceased quality assurance labor. Build It Green implemented software improvements to their utility program's online rebate applications portal to accelerate data processing.
This summary from a Better Buildings Residential Network peer exchange call focused on opportunities and challenges in the Southeast and holistic, whole house approaches for working in hot and humid climates.
Ivy Knoll Senior Retirement Community used PACE financing to make significant building improvements of systems that were outdated or energy inefficient. Through PACE financing, Ivy Knoll management was able to select improvements that had the highest energy savings but also came with higher upfront costs for the 7-story, all-electric building.
Energy efficiency programs can communicate with jargon and technical terminology, which puts off homeowners. However, marketing best practices suggest wording based on improved consumer experience is more effective. This presentation covers seven proven communications strategies for causing behavior change.
This summary from a Better Buildings Residential Network peer exchange call focused on quality assurance of energy efficiency services.
This paper analyzes Bank of America's $55 million initiative to provide low-cost funding and grant support to advance energy efficiency investment in low- to moderate-income communities. The funding supported community development financial institutions (CDFIs) in developing and enhancing efficiency programs for residential, commercial, and multifamily buildings. We report on loan performance, energy savings, and the degree to which the savings offset the cost of the energy efficiency investment.
Better Buildings Home Upgrade Program Accelerator partners, Build It Green, Enhabit, and NeighborWorks of Western Vermont, discussed steps for streamlining program processes, and strategies to improve data management, contractor relationships, and customer experiences. Tools and resources were presented as examples of how these ideas can be implemented in programs across the country.
Lessons Learned and the Better Buildings Residential Program Solution Center
Take you on a tour of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Residential Program Solution Center content and functionality and explore how you can use the Solution Center to help design, implement, and evaluate residential energy efficiency programs. Program examples focus on contractor engagement and workforce development. Learn how to support and partner with the workforce who will deliver your program’s energy efficiency services by understanding their capacity, recruiting contractor partners, enabling technical training and business development support, and refining program processes over time.
This handout summarizes the key lessons learned regarding workforce development contained in the Better Buildings Residential Program Solution Center.
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.
This publication summarizes program design, marketing, workforce development, and other key takeaways learned during Peer Exchange Calls.
This publication summarizes lessons learned from Peer Exchange Calls about how energy efficiency programs and partners can leverage timing to engage homeowners.
This presentation highlights the potential operational, financial and environmental benefits that smart meters offer to residential customers, particularly low-income customers. Low-income customers have a higher energy burden, making energy savings more impactful.
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.