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Some programs provide customers with a “certificate of completion” to recognize and reward homeowners’ accomplishment in completing an upgrade.  Visible awards or affirmation, such as yard signs, window stickers, or favorable comparisons to neighbors can motivate homeowners to undertake upgrades.

  • Energy Impact Illinois, in partnership with Illinois Home Performance with ENERGY STAR, provides a certificate to all homeowners who complete a qualifying home energy upgrade and achieve at least 15% energy savings. The certificate includes information on upgrade measures performed and expected energy savings. The Chicago Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which provides information for residential real estate transactions, added a field in 2012 that provides information about the certificate in home sales listings. Program outreach teams talk to residents about the potential for energy upgrades to increase home value at the time of sale. Feedback from homeowners suggests that the certificate, and its visibility in home transactions, was a factor (although not necessarily a primary one) motivating them to pursue upgrades. Some homeowners told the program that they decided to upgrade their homes because they planned to move and felt the upgrade would increase their home’s marketability. Residents clearly valued the certificate; several contacted the program to inquire about it when it would arrive following their upgrade.
  • Eversource, a utility serving New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, undertook a pilot study to examine whether comparing homeowners’ energy use to neighbors or rewarding them for energy savings were better ways to motivate residential energy upgrades. The utility divided its New Hampshire customers into groups: some received information about their energy usage in comparison to their neighbors and some received rewards based on their energy savings; the rewards could be redeemed for gift cards or charitable gifts. Eversource found that comparing people to their neighbors resulted in greater overall energy savings; however, the rewards group showed more engagement with the program’s website, with many more of them creating online accounts. A 2015 Better Buildings Residential Network Peer Exchange call discussed the program in more detail.