EnergySavvy Named to Global Cleantech 100, Welcomes New Clients

EnergySavvy welcomes DTE Energy and Indiana Michigan Power to our growing list of utility clients and announces significant new deployments at Salt River Project, Columbia Gas of Ohio, and Tennessee Valley Authority.

4) 2015_GlobalCleantech100_eBadge_Top100_071415EnergySavvy is honored to be named to the 2015 Global Cleantech 100, produced by Cleantech Group. The Global Cleantech 100 represents the most innovative and promising ideas in cleantech. Featuring companies that are best positioned to solve tomorrow’s clean technology challenges, Global Cleantech 100 is a comprehensive list of private companies with the highest potential to make the most significant market impact.

This year, a record number of nominations were received: 6,900 distinct companies from 60 countries. These companies were weighted and scored to create a short list of 323 companies. Short-listed nominees were reviewed by Cleantech Group’s Expert Panel, resulting in a finalized list of 100 companies from 17 countries.

“We’re honored to be recognized among a stellar group of companies from around the world,” said Aaron Goldfeder, CEO of EnergySavvy. “And we’re even more excited to announce new and deeper relationships with some of the nation’s biggest and most respected utilities. We’re honored to work with these clients who have chosen our solutions to drive broad customer engagement across their many value-added programs.”

Last year, EnergySavvy expanded its customer engagement solution, Optix Engage, to include small and midsize business, as well as direct mail and mobile solutions to reach the entire utility customer base. The entire solution drives the highest completion rates in the industry and is designed to compel action – namely, driving program participation and higher customer satisfaction.

EnergySavvy welcomes DTE Energy and Indiana Michigan Power, a division of AEP, to the company’s more than 30 utility clients. DTE Energy is launching Optix Engage Residential, EnergySavvy’s consumer-focused online engagement solution. At DTE, the solution is a core component of a customer engagement initiative lead by Walker-Miller Energy Services.

Indiana Michigan Power chose Engage for Business, an online engagement solution for its small-to-midsize businesses in Michigan. “We want to make it as easy as possible for our business customers to participate in energy and money-saving programs,” said Jon Walter, Regulatory Analysis and Case Manager at Indiana Michigan Power. “EnergySavvy’s solution will provide a fast and effective way for our customers to make a positive impact on their business.”

EnergySavvy is pleased to announce that Salt River Project expands its use of Optix Engage to include Engage Direct, an easy-to-use direct-mail energy assessment that enables engagement with customers who don’t interact with their utility online. EnergySavvy also announces that Columbia Gas of Ohio and Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), have selected Optix Manage to automate and enhance their income-eligible offerings.

As part of TVA’s Smart Communities Extreme Energy Makeovers initiative, 4-County Electric Power Association also chose Optix Quantify, EnergySavvy’s savings measurement software, to bolster its customer engagement and education through continuous data analytics. “The goals of the program are an electric energy usage reduction target of 25% per home, with an implementation cost of approximately $10.00 per square foot and an annual savings of 1,000 Megawatt-hours,” said Jon Turner, Manager of Marketing for 4-County Electric Power Association. “We selected ICF International along with EnergySavvy to streamline our operations while ensuring the best experience for all customers.”

Mass Save Increases LED Click-To-Buy Rate by 3x

How do you get 2.5 million customers to participate in your energy efficiency programs?

Mass-Save-Infographic-drop-shadowIn order to “engage the masses” and drive energy savings, Mass Save sought a customer solution that would rev up homeowner interest and increase energy efficiency program involvement. Through their efforts, they more than tripled industry average participation rates in a click-to-buy LED bulb campaign. How’d they do it? Visit the infographic and read more below.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) recently voted Massachusetts #1 in energy efficiency on their annual state scorecard for a record fifth year in a row. At the heart of this achievement sits Mass Save – a unique initiative that encompasses the coordinated energy efficiency programs for eight major utilities and energy efficiency service providers in Massachusetts. The initiative demonstrates continuous dedication to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and helps Massachusetts maintain its #1 standing by ACEEE.

As part of a comprehensive engagement plan involving no-cost, in-home energy assessments and generous customer incentives, in 2014 Mass Save launched EnergySavvy’s Optix Engage, an online energy assessment meant to educate Massachusetts residents and drive participation, while collecting a wealth of customer data. That data is stored in a flexible, cloud analytics portal enabling Mass Save to segment customers by savings potential, insulation levels, age of heating equipment, and more.

The power of customer segmentation enabled Mass Save to drive a 3.5 times higher purchase rate from a recent LED lighting campaign compared with a control group.

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In an increasingly digital world, customers expect all of their online experiences to be intuitive, engaging, and easy. Why should utilities be any different? With a self-driven energy audit to compel engagement from the state’s 2.5 million utility customers, Mass Save demonstrates how a rich set of analytics can enable customer segmentation and targeting that move the needle on driving new revenue opportunities and higher customer satisfaction.

 

Notes from the Grid Edge: Modern Measurement Can Lead to Better Programs

By: Tim Guiterman, Director of Quantify Solutions

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership (NEEP) EM&V Forum both released papers in December about key trends in the energy efficiency industry, specifically related to the role of information and communication technologies (ICT), data analytics and, software-as-a-service tools for improving program performance with automated measurement.

These two well-respected organizations make it clear that transformational technology and tools have arrived that can unlock a tremendous amount of value for energy efficiency programs. Importantly, even though many of these tools are rooted in the ability to measure energy savings, their uses, and benefits, go far beyond the field of EM&V.  According to the ACEEE, “[b]y incorporating ICT into the design and management of their services, program administrators and evaluators will be able to improve the effectiveness of their actions and reduce their operating costs.”

Furthermore, as the NEEP paper states, “automated consumption data analysis can provide rapid feedback to programs whether or not this analysis is used as the final evaluated savings” [emphasis mine]. This last phrase is worth highlighting, as this topic arises repeatedly in our discussions with regulators, utilities, evaluators, and stakeholders across the country. Not every utility, state, and region is ready, willing or planning to use meter data as part of their formal evaluation regime. Whether this would be of benefit and, if so, when this should occur, is a complex and highly localized conversation occurring across the country. What is important, as ACEEE points out, is that the conversation has no impact on the value that new analytical tools provide to improve program cost-effectiveness and overall performance NOW.

These independent findings from ACEEE and NEEP confirm exactly what we are seeing in the field. Our clients are using Optix Quantify to optimize their programs in several specific ways:

One of our utility clients switched implementers during a program year. The switch was made in April, and by August, Quantify was able to show that the realization rate on projects completed after the transition improved from 44% to 89% (See Figure 1). Without Quantify, it might have been a full year or more before the utility received this information. Instead, this feedback immediately validated the investment in program implementation and enabled our client to set a new benchmark of expected performance for their implementation contractor.

Figure 1. Validating program changes and investments through metered savings

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Next, program administrators are managing contractors and trade allies with a variety of metrics, but not on the actual savings they deliver to their customers. For example, one client using Quantify discovered that the contractor with the highest volume, and highest expected savings, actually had the lowest actual performance. The savings claimed by this trade ally were simply not being realized at the customer meter (see upper left quadrant of Figure 2 below). Measuring savings at the meter and placing these findings in the hands of the program manager led to immediate corrective action. This benefited the program, the utility and the customers directly.

Figure 2. Assessing contractor performance through metered savings

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Additionally, program administrators are using automated measurement data to capture the value of remote QA/QC. This helps drive down the costs of on-site inspections and to uncover issues that compromise program cost effectiveness. One client using Quantify discovered that more than 10 percent of customers in a particular program were receiving rebates for replacing electric furnaces that never existed. Another client is seeking to significantly slash their QA/QC costs by using Quantify to identify the types of projects that most require on-site inspection.

As a final example, continuous and automated feedback on program performance allows DSM program administrators to capture best practices and identify possible savings that are “left on the table.” One of our clients running Quantify identified one of their highest volume measures was achieving well over 100% of the expected savings. This prompted a collaborative conversation with their third-party evaluator to investigate whether additional savings could be claimed from this measure to improve overall program cost effectiveness.

Our clients believe that when things are measured, they tend to improve. The NEEP and ACEEE papers make this same point: automated measurement enables a continuous program improvement cycle, one that promotes effective actions and can directly reduce operating costs.

Energy Efficiency Organizations Outline the Next Generation of Measurement Tools

by: Jake Oster, EnergySavvy’s Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs

Ever since the term “EM&V 2.0” was first coined in 2014, the energy efficiency industry has been debating how the emerging landscape of tools, technologies, and software products will modernize energy efficiency measurement.

Thus far, the discussion has been led by companies that are innovating in this space. But this month, two important organizations published studies on the field of evaluation, measurement and verification (EM&V) 2.0 and made clear to the energy efficiency industry that change is here.

The two papers provide complementary outlines for the near- and long-term applications for EM&V 2.0 tools (also termed “automated M&V” by Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships, or NEEP, and “ICT-enabled EM&V” by ACEEE). The near-term analysis is outlined in “The Changing EM&V Paradigm.” A similar paper from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), entitled “How Information and Communications Technologies Will Change the Evaluation, Measurement, and Verification of Energy Efficiency Programs,” takes a longer-term view of the innovations that will occur as a result of modern measurement tools.

These papers come at just the right time. The growing industry trend toward the use of EM&V 2.0 software tools is gaining traction. The topic has been featured at several recent industry panels and events, including the International Energy Program Evaluation Conference (IEPEC), ACEEE Intelligent Efficiency, and AESP Big Data Analytics Conference.

The passage of AB 802 in California is driving the measurement of energy efficiency to be based on “normalized metered energy consumption,” and this transition will likely require support from EM&V 2.0 technologies.

And in New York, the state commission’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) Track One Order states that “advances in technology [can] be used to challenge and enhance our traditional approach to EM&V.” The immediate value of EM&V 2.0 tools is covered in the paper published by NEEP. The report uncovers important findings for utilities and regulators, including:

  • EM&V 2.0 can provide faster measurement, reduce the risk of surprises, and provide opportunities for course correction
  • EM&V 2.0 can support robust and rigorous evaluation
  • Evaluators can validate EM&V 2.0 tools and then find ways to incorporate the near-real-time results into formal evaluations

NEEP makes clear that EM&V 2.0 tools are here to stay and are fast becoming part of the energy efficiency landscape. A growing cadre of data analytics companies are deploying these tools and utilities are increasingly interested in using measurement technology for program management.

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Source: NEEP EM&V Forum

According to the paper, these analytics tools can provide “[r]apid and continuous feedback to customers and programs on the changes in facility consumption after measure installation.” This collection of program optimization benefits drives better results from energy efficiency dollars.

EM&V 2.0 tools also provide benefits and support to formal energy-efficiency measurement. According to the report, measurement technologies are using established practices, “similar to traditional degree-day billing analyses,” which have been used for years by evaluators.

As evaluators assess the methodology and outputs from these tools, they will continue to develop confidence in the results and rely on those results to support formal evaluation studies. Furthermore, EM&V 2.0 software offers some distinct advantages, such as offering “more thoroughly tested and vetted analytic[s]” and the potential to “reduce the total time required to complete evaluation of a program.”

EM&V 2.0 to enable next-generation efficiency

ACEEE’s report sees the immediate benefits for modern measurement tools and then looks at the potential for the next generation of energy efficiency. According to the report, “The energy efficiency sector will be transformed by the ubiquity of [information and communications technology]. It will simplify the harvesting of savings data, improve the accuracy and timeliness of reporting, and assist in providing context to energy data.”

ACEEE also sees opportunities that will emerge as a result of EM&V 2.0 technologies. As a starting point, the paper recognizes the ability to “measure energy savings with the same accuracy and fluidity that utilities achieve in measuring electricity consumption.”

This has long been a goal of the industry and a hurdle to allowing energy savings to be purchased “as a commodity that can then be traded in regional capacity markets.” In recognizing the capabilities of modern measurement tools, the report authors contend that EM&V 2.0 tools can “increase the volume of efficiency bid into capacity markets and financed by private-sector financial markets,” also a long-sought-after goal for the energy efficiency industry.

Next steps for EM&V 2.0

While practitioners of EM&V 2.0 have been making these claims for some time, these papers provide significant recognition of the value that EM&V 2.0 tools can deliver. NEEP and ACEEE are injecting well-respected voices into an important industry discussion.

The field of EM&V is undergoing inevitable change. According to ACEEE, this will ripple across the structure of the industry. These papers make clear that this evolution should be embraced.

Today, EM&V 2.0 tools are supporting program optimization for utilities, which can lead to increased accuracy and rigor, as well as more comprehensive data to streamline EM&V and support traditional measurement methods.

Tomorrow, they can empower new program designs, increase value for energy savings, and open the door for the emergence of new energy-efficiency devices for homes and businesses.

Designing an Engagement Strategy for SMBs

by Chris Rovillos, UX Designer

Over the years, our utility clients have shared with us the complex challenge of engaging small to midsize businesses (SMB). Accounting for 20% of the nation’s electricity usage but only about 3% of energy efficiency spending, there is a challenging gap to fill. In a well-known Accenture report, 9 out of 10 SMBs say they want more personalized service from their utilities but just 35% say they’re getting it. Engaging SMBs is hard – they’re just too small for utilities to have dedicated account managers. But they’re too big and unique for the type of mass-market programs that serve residential customers.

So we set off to address this challenge. But we had to get it right…

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.
—Steve Jobs

User Experience Matters

At EnergySavvy, the customer experience matters. Our online audit for homeowners, Optix Engage Residential, features some of the highest completion rates in the industry—over 90%. One of the key reasons for these high levels of completion is our focus on great “UX,” or User Experience. The Engage survey doesn’t ask unneeded questions or force homeowners to fill out complex forms. Instead, it features bright, colorful icons with simple, easy-to-understand questions.

When we embarked on designing and building Optix Engage for Business, we knew that we had to continue this focus on great UX, while at the same time addressing some of the tough challenges that make SMBs incredibly difficult to engage from a utility’s point-of-view. Over the past couple of months, we’ve talked with owners, operators and managers at more than 20 SMBs across the country from Seattle to New York, California to Oklahoma , asking them:

  • “How do you feel about your business’s current energy usage?”
  • “What currently motivates you to save energy?”
  • “What would make you want to take an online energy audit for your business?”

So, what were our top three takeaways about small to midsize businesses?

1. They’re busy and have little spare time to think about saving energy

Almost all the people at the SMBs we talked with had one thing in common: they’re extremely busy. In the SMB world, owners and operators don’t have the luxury of being able to delegate tasks to other employees in specialized positions: an SMB operator is often the CEO, CFO, and the operations manager.

Not only do SMB owners and operators have a large typical workload; they often are interrupted constantly whether in front of their desk or on on the move via their smartphones and have to respond to endless amounts of “fires” that come up.

One notable example of this was our experience talking with the owner of an auto body repair shop in Long Island, New York. The owner was interrupted more than eight times by other employees during our hour-long interview: from auto insurance people calling in to verify a claim to personnel management issues.

What does this mean? SMBs have little to no time to think about typical utility programs. Many of the businesses we talked with said that most of the mail they receive immediately is thrown away; there are more important things to do.

2. They value saving money, but are wary of offers that seem “too good to be true”

Saving money is high on the list of priorities for SMBs; quite a few of the ones we talked with remarked that they constantly were on the edge of cash-flow issues with maxed out credit lines. When asked about the payback period for capital investments, such as in equipment upgrades or retrofits as part of energy efficiency programs, the majority of SMBs said that a two-year payback period would be the point at which they would consider participating.

One interesting thing that came up was that many of the SMBs we talked with said that they had heard of opportunities to save money from their utility, but they lumped them in with offers about saving money from their phone company. The word “scam” came up a lot when talking to SMBs about these offers.

Somebody came into the store and we thought it was a scam…You don’t want to trust anybody that is just going to walk and do stuff with your business.
—Small business owner

The small business owner recalled a contractor coming in to tell her about a utility’s energy efficiency program.

3. They’re influenced by their neighbors

SMBs don’t necessarily view neighboring businesses (even those in the same industry) as competition. Neighboring businesses can often serve as a vital source of information regarding ideas for efficiency improvements.

For example, an operations manager at a Seattle distillery talked about how he would read tips on which equipment to buy from a web forum frequented by other distillery operators.

How this influenced our product design

We didn’t let the knowledge that we gleaned from SMBs just sit around, though. In a future blog post in our UX series, I’ll talk about how this user research inspired some of the key elements of the design of Engage for Business.

Interested in learning more?

Read more about Optix Engage for Business.

Request a demo.

Subscribe to our blog.

About Chris Rovillos

Chris-Rovillos

A Washington State native, Chris joined EnergySavvy as the company’s second UX designer. He earned a BS in both computer science and human centered design and engineering from the University of Washington. Chris loves music, especially here in his Emerald City hometown.