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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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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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Free Rider – Philosophical Jujitsu

By Energy Efficiency, Energy Rant No Comments
Last week I was reading this article about how corporate energy saving and sustainability goals might shake up the utility business.  The crux of the article is that widespread execution of corporate sustainability plans would drive a downward spiral of energy demand that would threaten the utility industry.  One reader commented that these corporate programs must be accounted for when determining utility program attribution, or free ridership.Free ridership plus attribution equals unity, as in 1.00.  Savings are either attributable to the program, or not (a free rider).  For reference, see definitions of these things and other amazing, stunning facts you…
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