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Fish Fried Conversations of Efficiency

By Energy Rant No Comments
As described last week, net savings and program attribution are measures of an efficiency program's influence on making a project happen for utility customers. There is a range of influence that energy savings has in motivating customers to do a project, and that range is 0% to 100%, while accurate attribution results may be 90% or better. The role of energy savings in a decision can be largely irrelevant in determining attribution. How? Non-energy benefits! The situation reminds me of fluid dynamics, a core course in mechanical engineering. There are major friction losses and minor friction losses. Major losses are…
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Attribution on the Cheap

By Energy Rant 2 Comments
In the last two Rant posts, we learned that our 40-year-old program evaluation frameworks need to change to capture greater, real impacts. Rather than improving programs and accurately determining impacts, archaic evaluation methodologies are impeding progress toward greater energy savings. It may be like solving the percolating national debt crisis, but I will attack this rubber tree plant anyway. Attribution Determination of program attribution is the common thread that weaves through most of the six common flaws (described here and here) of current program policy. Attribution is the quantity of benefits delivered by the program or intervention. Attributable impacts are…
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Risky Business, Believe Me

By Energy Rant No Comments
Last week, paragraph two, I warned readers about this post, which discusses the impact risks for energy efficiency programs. When using efficiency impacts for 20-year utility resource planning, nearly all the uncertainty resides beyond the cushy office of the evaluator – in the field. This uncertainty and risk was demonstrated back in July in Drive-by Evaluation. The crux of that post was the uncertainty inherent with installation and operation, compared to risk on paper, which is comparatively very low. For reference, see the chart below where we show the cushy desk review versus reality (site inspected).Advancing the story in this…
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Net to Eeeew, Gross – Pin the Tail on the Donkey

By Energy Rant One Comment
Anytime I listen to a net-to-gross (NTG) scrum, the philosophical gears in my brain ramp up to a smooth whir. This is what happened at ACEEE summer camp, also known as the ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings. This post is inspired by a paper titled “Applying Gross Savings and Net Savings in an Integrated Policy Framework”, presented by Dan Violette (Navigant) and co-authored by Elizabeth Titus (Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships), Pam Rathbun (Tetra Tech), and our very own Teri Lutz. Since Dan referenced the SEE Action Energy Efficiency Program Impact Evaluation Guide, for purposes of saying the…
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Savings Persistence – Funner than a Barrel of Monkeys

By Energy Rant No Comments
Today, let’s consider a subject that is as squishy, subjective, and amorphous as net savings and non-energy benefits (see here and here). Today’s subject is savings persistence. Savings Persistence and Its Importance Even allowing for generous latitude, if I polled readers of this post, I would probably get a dozen definitions of savings persistence. For retro-commissioning, persistence is ensuring the measures aren’t undone. For the broader group of behavior programs, persistence is getting customers and their occupants (family or employees) to continue to value and manage energy over the long term.To the evaluator, savings persistence opens many cans of worms.…
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Attribution and Net to Gross – Pop Tarts or Oatmeal?

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant 4 Comments
Last week I attended the ACEEE National Symposium on Market Transformation in Baltimore.  Learning and information gathering from conference sessions are typically down the list of reasons I attend conferences.  This conference however turned out to be very beneficial on both of those counts.  In particular, the net-to-gross (NTG) football, as described in last August’s Energy Program Evaluation Asylum post, was uncased for another game.  This time I learned something. One session featured heavy doses of program attribution, and of course, the NTG football.  Speakers included Bob Wirtshafter from Wirtshafter Associates and Mike Messenger from Itron.  Both gentlemen demonstrated the…
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The Rogue Choir Boy

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant, Government, Utility Stuff One Comment
I spent last week at the International Energy Program Evaluation Conference, IEPEC, as in, I-E-P-E-C to hard core evaluators or I-Peck for the rest of us. Ninety-five percent of the conference including content and networking was great.  Of course with this being the Energy Rant, I will beat on the remaining 5%. Recapping, there are generally two portions of program evaluation: impact and process.  Impact evaluation, which is what we at Michaels do, involves the assessment of savings (impacts) programs achieve, including what the measure actually saves (gross savings) and what impact the program had on the savings (net savings). …
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Butterfly Wings

By Energy Efficiency, Government, Uncategorized, Utility Stuff No Comments
A couple years ago I was attending an ACEEE conference and I was speaking with a gentleman who with his company was a program implementer.  I remember him saying that program evaluators should always work for the regulators.  If evaluators worked for the program implementer, which in many cases is the utility directly, the results would be biased.  I thought, no way.  There is no way our profession is to be swayed by the desire to not make waves with the client.  As I say on our staff page I will tell people what they need to know, not what…
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