The Product is Energy Savings

Recently WattzOn completed a program review of our Home Efficiency Program in Benicia California. The results are stellar.

The Benicia Home Efficiency Program (BHEP) is a city-funded program that provides free energy saving coaching visits to residents. WattzOn developed and delivered the program. During the home visit, a WattzOn Energy Consultant answers the following questions for the resident:

• Where does my money go?

• How do I compare?

• What is going on in my home?

• Where are my savings opportunities?

• Which of these do I want to do?

At the end of the home visit the resident has several printed, personalized reports in hand, including a list of savings opportunities that they think will work with their home and lifestyle.

BHEP is a behavior-change program -- no permanent fixes are made. It is also focuses on electricity and indoor water, with only a light touch on natural gas use. Electricity comprises 65% of a typical residential utility bill in Benicia.

The results are in, and are based on utility and water bills:

• More than 70% of the homes we coached saved energ

• Electricity savings averaged 9% per year (measured against a control group) or 7% per year (year-over-year savings by program participants)

• Water savings averaged 10% per year.

• Approximatley one-fourth of the electricity savings came from light bulbs. The remainder came from miscellaneous end-uses.

BEHP is an entirely different model of saving energy than the bill insert programs now widely used by utilities. Utilities provide a captive audience, and the bill insert provider then works to activate savings across the broad group. In contrast, BHEP engages residents from the start. From awareness and outreach through the home visit, BHEP works hard to make energy savings easy and attractive. There is an immediacy to all of the results -- information and action items are known and doable by the end of the visit.

The BHEP model provides important learnings about the process of engagement, and is a repeatable, testable process that leads to continuous improvement.
Think of energy savings as a product. Programs like BHEP show us that product marketing works.

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