Programs that enabled contractors to install energy saving measures during the home energy assessment were more successful than those that did not. Based on a comprehensive analysis of over 140 programs across the United States, programs that provided direct installation of some low-cost measures and had relatively larger pools of eligible upgrade contractors were more successful than other programs. Common low-cost measures, usually installed during an assessment, included LEDs, low-flow showerheads, and faucet aerators. These small upgrades served as both sources of energy savings as well as “sweeteners” to encourage participation in the assessment and encourage homeowners to explore future, larger upgrade projects. These measures also enabled programs to claim energy savings before a lengthy upgrade process. Direct installation measures have a high customer satisfaction rate, and as such could motivate homeowners to participate in the program. More information about the program examples below can be found in the evaluation report, Spotlight on Key Program Strategies from the Better Buildings Neighborhood Program (Final Evaluation Volume 6).
- Boulder County, Colorado’s EnergySmart Program enabled contractors to directly install low-cost measures, such as compact fluorescent lights, showerhead and faucet aerators, and water heat pipe insulators. These low-cost direct install measures contributed to the 75 percent of households that enrolled in the program that made one or more energy efficiency improvements through the program.
- Efficiency Maine offered a statewide Residential Direct Install (RDI) incentive that encouraged homeowners to conduct an assessment as well as energy efficiency upgrades by providing a $600 rebate for at least six hours of air sealing and insulation work. The RDI incentive was launched in order to provide immediate savings by identifying and addressing the most urgent issues in the home. During the RDI incentive period, contractors were able to reduce home air leakage by an average of 17 percent in as little as six to ten hours.