Our Thinking

Weatherization programs reach less than 3% of eligible homes. Here’s how to reach the other 97%.

  • By Heather Roth
  • July 22, 2015

Weatherization — the practice of implementing energy efficiency measures, particularly around seasonal weather changes — is the heart of almost every utility’s low-income portfolio.

There’s a good reason why. Low-income customers tend to live in older, less efficient homes, and their energy burden is 4.6x greater on average than non-low-income families’. Weatherization is an important way that utilities can engage working families and help them lower their bills.

The problem is that for a lot of low-income customers, it can be hard to juggle enrolling and participating in weatherization with their other priorities. And it shows up in the numbers. Between 2009 and 2012, the Federal Weatherization Assistance Project reached an impressive 1 million homes in the U.S. Yet that was less than 3 percent of the homes that were eligible for weatherization in 2014.

How can program managers and other leaders start reaching the other 97 percent?

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Our Thinking

Research spotlight: how a little science can squeeze more value out of your DSM budget

  • By Matt Brooks
  • July 13, 2015

Utilities worldwide are working hard to meet increasingly ambitious demand-side management goals. But this year, a lot of them are coming up against a hard truth: the dollars they spend on energy efficiency programs just don’t go as far as they used to.

We’ve heard that anecdotally from our clients, but the proof is in the numbers. E Source found that the cost to acquire 1 kWh of savings rose 35 percent between 2010 and 2014. Efficiency budgets stayed relatively flat over the same period, according to the Edison Foundation.

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That’s one reason why our behavioral design experts are looking for new, cost-effective ways to motivate utility customers to save more energy at home.

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Our Thinking

Why do dynamic pricing programs flop?

  • By Nick Payton
  • July 2, 2015

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In 1898, William Barstow proposed time-of-day pricing at the Association of Edison Illuminating Companies. His proposal was rejected.

Fast forward more than a century, and dynamic pricing still hasn’t taken off. Less than three percent of American households are on time-of-use rates. But thanks to a few innovators, that’s starting to change.

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