No doubt you've heard President Trump announce a new U.S. policy on the climate change accords. But instead of changing course, dozens of cities are moving ahead on paths and programs aimed to curb energy use. WattzOn has provided software tools and staffing for city energy saving programs around the country and on our nation’s military bases. This blog post highlights our results and lessons learned.
The approach is a light touch, with a focus on immediate energy savings through habits and low-cost solutions for any resident. We track results through our software platform and measure savings by comparing monthly utility bills to those in the prior year.*
Typically residents save 8 - 12% on their utility bills, a finding that holds up across income groups, climate zones and wide variation in utility rates.
In two recent programs, Walnut Creek, CA and Simi Valley, CA, hundreds of residents have signed up for a home consultation with WattzOn-trained student interns. The students, under our staff supervision, provide a personalized home energy analysis and make specific energy-saving recommendations. Surveys show over 90% of residents are highly pleased with the consultation.
WattzOn has delivered over 35 community-based energy savings programs across the U.S. We’ve got this down to a science, and can rollout a new program in as little as 6 - 8 weeks. Here’s what we’ve learned about how to make community programs successful.
1) Community-branded software. Residents use friendly program-branded software to track energy use and find their best savings. By using the white-label feature of WattzOn’s EnergyCenter we’re able to incorporate local images and branding, leveraging the community’s broader efforts and prior work.
2) Local outreach with a human face. WattzOn typically partners with local non-profits or city staff for program outreach. We have a proven outreach program that increases awareness and program participation, all closely coordinated with our partners.
We also offer a program variant, in which WattzOn’s staff recruits and trains student interns. They become the community’s outreach team and also perform home consultations. This is a great paid cleantech internship, and works very well in communities looking for ways to expand career training opportunities for high school students.
3) Data, Data, Data. A great feature of WattzOn’s EnergyCenter is that it enables the aggregation of savings by individual homes. The community impact of the program is reported each month to program managers and showcased on a dedicated program website. EnergyCenter enables data-driven programming, a path forward to continual program improvement. See our Georgetown University Energy Prize webinar on the power of this data here.
4) Simple Program Launch. There is no software to integrate. Our program launch simply requires a set of meetings to define goals, customize our software tools, and provide a program overview. We always lay out events, content and messaging with city staff so there are no surprises. Programs typically launch after 6 - 8 weeks of prep.
Want to hear more? There are three easy ways to work with WattzOn:
- Use our software, brand it for local use. City staff handles outreach.
- Use our software and staffing. All branded for your community.
- Collaborate with our partner, Opterra Energy Services, and fold a community energy engagement program into your school district or city solar/energy efficiency upgrades.
Interested in using community energy savings to build community financial capacity? Check out our white paper on the impact of energy savings on local economic development, and our recent blog post on how community energy savings can improve FICO scores.
* WattzOn can provide data sets from our programs suitable for utility-grade M&V studies. Our experience is that residents get the most benefit from straight forward year-over-year usage and bill comparisons.