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Case Studies

Find out more about how energy efficiency upgrade programs across the United States are using innovative financing mechanisms, high-demand promotions, tailored contractor training, and more to drive the number of building upgrades through a holistic, whole-home approach. Use the lessons they learned to accelerate your own program's journey to success.

The case studies below provide extensive, beneficial insight from Better Buildings Neighborhood Program partners and others on the topics of:

  • Driving Demand
  • Financing
  • Service Delivery
  • Workforce Development.

Topic Title Description Program Featured Sector Source Year
Service Delivery Best Offer Ever Produces Upgrades in Record Time Provides examples of lessons learned through the implementation and monitoring of Austin Energy's Best Offer Ever promotion. The promotional offer generated a record number of home upgrades in just six months. Residential Better Buildings Neighborhood Program 2011
Service Delivery Sweeping the State for Ultimate Success Describes an innovative program design used by BetterBuildings for Michigan to "sweep" neighborhoods in order to effectively reach its residential audience and achieve an 80% participation rate among those canvassed. Residential Better Buildings Neighborhood Program 2011
Driving Demand How Local Ties Lead to Local Wins Discusses how one program uses its relationships with local organizations to generate a community-based voice for their program. Residential Better Buildings Neighborhood Program 2011
Workforce Development Let Your Contractor Be Your Guide for Big Rewards Provides insight on informing your contractors and evaluating their feedback to ensure a faster path toward program success. Tips include effectively managing contractors' workload and correcting oversights quickly to build trust and boost morale. Commercial & Residential Better Buildings Neighborhood Program 2011
Service Delivery Community Partnerships Work to Extend Program Reach Shares the experience of a program getting off the ground and how it managed to leverage its partner connections and develop relationships with local experts to extend their reach in a short period of time. Commercial & Residential Better Buildings Neighborhood Program 2011
Financing and Incentives Transition to a Sustainable Level of Incentives Describes how Efficiency Maine offered limited-time incentives to accelerate customer acquisition. The financing models and lessons learned can be used to address participation lulls for current and future program initiatives. Residential Better Buildings Neighborhood Program 2012
Financing and Incentives Experiment to Find the Right Mix of Incentives Discusses how evaluation of different incentive structures can help programs create a combination of financing tools that resonated with local audiences, thus driving program demand and participation. Residential Better Buildings Neighborhood Program 2012
Financing and Incentives Use Incentives to Get Attention and Encourage Deep Savings Shares how Clean Energy Works Oregon used performance-based incentives, limited-time bonus rebates, early financing approvals, and seasonal advantages to implement financing tools that broaden its program reach and increase home upgrade completions. Residential Better Buildings Neighborhood Program 2012
Workforce Development Developing the Skills and Tools for Workforce Success Provides insight into how the Fayette County BetterBuildings Initiative increased the number of home energy efficiency upgrades by investing in its contractors through training, increased equipment availability and loans, and networking opportunities. Commercial & Residential Better Buildings Neighborhood Program 2012
Workforce Development Contractor Sales Training Boosts Energy Upgrade Conversions Explores Efficiency Maine's experience and process of preparing contractors with the sales and interpersonal skill sets, in additional to technical training, to help homeowners through the decision-making process of undertaking an upgrade. Commercial & Residential Better Buildings Neighborhood Program 2012
Workforce Development Making the Program Work for Contractors Shares ways in which Clean Energy Works Oregon organized contractor networking opportunities, incentivized contractor performance, and used contractor feedback to increase program effectiveness. Commercial & Residential Better Buildings Neighborhood Program 2012
Service Delivery Visible and Concrete Savings: Case Studies of Effective Behavioral Approaches to Improving Customer Energy Efficiency Provides numerous examples of successful behavioral programs that seek to reduce customer energy use. The programs are attracting increased interest as governments, industry, and the public scale up their energy efficiency efforts.
  • Cape Light Compact (Massachusetts)
  • Flex Your Power program (California)
  • Hydro One (Ontario, Canada)
  • Kansas City Power and Light (Missouri)
  • Sacramento, California
  • Salt River Project (Arizona)
Commercial & Residential American Council for an Energy-Efficiency Economy 2010
Financing and Incentives On-Bill Financing for Energy Efficiency Improvements: A Review of Current Program Challenges, Opportunities, and Best Practices Provides review of on-bill financing programs implemented across the country, challenges to widespread adoption, and program and policy recommendations. Commercial & Residential American Council for an Energy-Efficiency Economy 2011
Financing and Incentives What Have We Learned From Energy Efficiency Financing Programs? Summarizes the results of a survey of efficiency loan programs throughout the nation. Focuses on loan terms, interest rates, default rates, application approval rates, participation rates, and loan amounts. Commercial & Residential American Council for an Energy-Efficiency Economy 2011
Financing and Incentives Using Credit Enhancements to Leverage Existing CDFI Capacity: Indianapolis EcoHouse Project Loan Program Highlights the EcoHouse Project Loan Program which provides fixed interest rate loans as a tool for enabling energy improvements among households who are otherwise unlikely to be able to access affordable financing at market rates. Residential Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory 2012
Financing and Incentives Alternative Underwriting Criteria - Using Utility Bill Payment History as a Proxy for Credit: Case Study on Clean Energy Works Oregon Highlights the Clean Energy Works Oregon (CEWO) program which provides outreach, education, incentives, and low interest, on-bill financing. Using these alternative underwriting practices, CEWO has achieved a rejection rate of just 10% while also maintaining a low loan default rate. Residential Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory 2012
Driving Demand Boulder, Colorado's SmartRegs: Minimum Performance Standards for Residential Rental Housing Discusses the development and success of Boulder, Colorado's "SmartRegs" ordinances that require all single family and multifamily rental properties to meet minimum energy efficiency standards by January 2019. Residential Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory 2012
Driving Demand Delivering Energy Efficiency to Middle Income Single Family Households Discusses how energy efficiency programs can motivate and empower middle income single family households to seek out comprehensive energy upgrades, including a number of financing tools, program delivery models, and outreach strategies that show promise in overcoming these barriers. Residential Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory 2011
Workforce Development Contractor Sales Training: Providing the Skills Necessary to Sell Comprehensive Home Energy Upgrades Demonstrates how contractor sales training helps contractors turn energy assessments into comprehensive energy upgrades, and supports long-term growth of the upgrade industry. Residential Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory 2011
Financing and Incentives Using Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBs) to Fund a Residential Energy Efficiency Loan Program: Case Study on Saint Louis County, Missouri Outlines Saint Louis County's experience issuing more than $10 million of QECBs to finance SAVES, the county's residential energy efficiency loan program.
  • Saint Louis County, Missouri
Residential Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory 2011
Financing and Incentives Austin's Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program: Making a Compelling Offer to a Financial Institution Partner Discusses the benefits of energy efficiency programs to lending partners, with a focus on Austin Energy's lending partner, Velocity Credit Union. Residential Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory 2011
Financing and Incentives NYSERDA's Green Jobs-Green New York Program: Extending Energy Efficiency Financing to Underserved Households Discusses innovative financing options designed to expand the accessibility of energy efficiency financing to households that typically do not qualify for traditional loans. Residential Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory 2011
Service Delivery Best Practices for Energy Retrofit Program Design - Case Study: Austin Energy Residential Power Saver Program Focuses on Home Performance with ENERGY STAR μ/sup> rebates and financing options offered as components of the utility's suite of residential efficiency and Demand Side Management initiative. Residential Home Performance Resource Center 2010
Service Delivery Best Practices for Energy Retrofit Program Design - Case Study: Boulder, Colorado Focuses on two components of the ClimateSmart initiative in Boulder, Colorado: the Loan Program and the Residential Energy Action Program. ClimateSmart is made up of various programs designed to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions.
  • ClimateSmart Residential Energy Action Program (Colorado)
Residential Home Performance Resource Center 2010
Service Delivery Best Practices for Energy Retrofit Program Design - Case Study: Clean Energy Works Portland Provides an overview of Clean Energy Works Portland which offers low-interest financing for energy efficiency retrofit measures to qualified homeowners coupled with consumer advocacy services designed to assist homeowners with the retrofit process. Residential Home Performance Resource Center 2010
Service Delivery Best Practices for Energy Retrofit Program Design - Case Study: New Jersey Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Provides an overview of the New Jersey Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program which offers performance-based incentives and financing to help homeowners pay for energy efficiency improvements, and subsidizes some costs that companies accrue to enter the home performance industry.
  • New Jersey
Residential Home Performance Resource Center 2010
Service Delivery Best Practices for Energy Retrofit Program Design - Case Study: New York Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Provides an overview of the New York Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program which provides homeowners with the choice of two low-interest financing options or rebates. The program also works to grow the home performance industry by providing various incentives for contractors to get trained, purchase equipment, and conduct marketing for their companies. Residential Home Performance Resource Center 2010