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

Leverage the many complementary benefits of energy efficiency programs to broaden your organization’s reach and partnership opportunities

Home energy assessments and upgrades can offer more than just energy savings benefits. They can make homes safer, enhance home value, and reduce health risks for residents. Better Buildings Neighborhood Program partners found that emphasizing the full range of benefits that upgrades offered helped them to identify new partnership opportunities they might not have otherwise considered. They found that their organization’s work to improve resident’s quality of life and reduce energy costs was often consistent with the mission of other organizations focused on public health, low-income housing, or local economic development. Working together provided an avenue for expanding both organizations’ reach, as well as providing multiplied benefits to residents. They also found that focusing on other benefits of energy efficiency could lead to access of additional funding sources and partners.

  • EnergyWorks KC in Kansas City sought partnerships with local government, community organizations, social service agencies and educational institutions to achieve complementary objectives, including: working with local housing development corporations to teach weatherization through hands-on work on houses being rehabilitated; providing free energy assessments for churches and other nonprofit institutions as part of training programs for commercial energy auditors; and partnering with Children's Mercy Center for Environmental Health to provide Healthy Homes for Energy Professionals training as part of most Home Performance training programs, as well as teaching combustion safety to Healthy Homes trainees. The program’s partnership with Children's Mercy Hospital focused on opportunities for cross-training and leveraging relationships. The benefits to both partners were related to mission, i.e. EnergyWorks KC taught energy auditors a "whole house approach", looking at buildings as a system.  It was to the benefit of EnergyWorks KC that auditors understood the health and safety impacts of this system for its occupants. It was to the benefit of Children’s Mercy to ensure that energy professionals, who spend a significant amount of time in homes, understood and were sensitive to environmental health issues, so that they could help to spot and address problems.
  • The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power took an integrated approach to saving water and energy among its residential customers, recognizing that the two are intricately linked. Water conservations programs in FY15 achieved a savings of 7,000 acre feet of water, equaling an energy savings of 4.3MkWh/year. In addition, since 2012, LADWP has been partnering with the Southern California Gas Company to further capitalize on multiple benefit opportunities and allow electric, gas, and water programs and incentives to be combined into a one-stop shop for customers. In the areas this joint venture operates, customers can see impacts in four areas on their bills: electric, gas, water, and sewer.
  • In 2015, Enhabit, formerly Clean Energy Works, expanded its portfolio of services to homeowners by adding seismic specialists to its team of local, certified contractors. Enhabit connected homeowners with contractors and provided low-interest loans for those interested in both energy efficiency as well as seismic safety upgrades. By offering an additional home improvement service that was in high demand in the earthquake prone Pacific Northwest, Enhabit was able to fill a niche in the market and expand its customer base.
See all tips from these handbooks:

Identify and engage organizational partners in your business model design.

Identify and develop needed resources to position your organization in the market and maintain a viable business model.

Publicize benefits and lessons learned resulting from your organization’s success in the market.