Data. It’s the stuff that builds robust energy efficiency programs, yet high-quality data that satisfies regulators can be hard to come by. In today’s age of increasing investments in energy efficiency programs, higher savings targets, and greater scrutiny of energy savings, good data is essential to designing high-performing programs. To address these challenges, D+R has developed BETTER DATA BETTER DESIGN® to:
Connect utilities and program administrators with each other and with other market actors to identify key data gaps.
Provide regularly updated information on long-term market trends.
Provide program design insights based on robust empirical data.
Facilitate review of program design by stakeholders (i.e., manufacturers, retailers, and evaluators).
Guide rapid development and testing of program designs that account for market realities.
Yield cost savings through pooled resources.
The result: tailored program designs that achieve program sponsors’ energy-savings goals.
Energy Open House
From 2009 to 2011, D+R worked with the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a unique website to help consumers improve the comfort of their homes and reduce their utility bills. Energy Open House takes users on a whole-house tour, offering room-by-room tips, in-depth fact sheets, do-it-yourself guides, and savings calculators to reduce home energy and water use.
Since 1996, D+R has worked with EPA and DOE to make the ENERGY STAR® logo the national symbol for energy efficiency. ENERGY STAR is a voluntary partnership between the federal government and public- and private-sector partners to promote energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gases. D+R has supported its clients and their program partners by analyzing the technical potential and market conditions for ENERGY STAR qualified appliances, lighting, and windows; helping develop specifications for these products; providing marketing and communications services; and assisting with program design. D+R has focused particularly on creating opportunities for retailers, manufacturers, and program sponsors to work together to advance the visibility of ENERGY STAR and increase the market share of qualified products. D+R has also worked with individual partners such as Whirlpool, GE, and Sears to help design programs, create marketing materials, and host events that raise the profile of ENERGY STAR. In addition, D+R develops and maintains web content and interactive tools for the ENERGY STAR website, www.energystar.gov.
D+R serves as the Independent Administrator and Auditor for the Voluntary Agreement for Ongoing Improvement to the Energy Efficiency of Set-Top Boxes. In this role, D+R collects data from pay television service providers on new set-top boxes purchased and prepares a public annual report covering cable set-top box performance, improvements in energy efficiency, and trends across the industry. D+R aggregates service provider reports of new set-top boxes purchased in the prior year, assesses service provider compliance with the Voluntary Agreement, evaluates proposals for alternative credits toward compliance, conducts an annual random procurement audit of one service provider, and conducts additional audits when instructed by the Steering Committee.
Environmental Behavior Change
D+R’s Market Research Team provides support to organizations seeking to change environmental behaviors using the principles of behavioral science. In 2008, D+R provided strategic input on the application of behavior research to New Jersey's Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® program. This input included specific guidance on development and testing of behavior-focused communication materials and program elements. In 2009, D+R provided marketing and communications consulting services to eMeter’s Consumer Energy Group, which delivers interactive software tools to utilities to help consumers manage their energy use. This work focused on integrating behavioral strategies that will motivate consumers to use eMeter’s Energy Engage Platforms. Also in 2009, D+R assisted One Change, a Canadian nonprofit that incorporates behavioral strategies to promote energy efficiency through the distribution of free, energy-efficient light bulbs. D+R assisted in expanding the reach of the Project Porchlight model in the United States.
State Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program
Since passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, D+R has provided assistance to DOE in design and implementation of the $300 million State Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program. The program was designed to save energy and stimulate the economy by promoting sales of high-efficiency products. D+R functioned as a liaison between DOE and all 56 U.S. states and territories as each program worked to determine a qualified product list, cost-effective rebate levels, and appropriate approval processes. D+R also coordinated with retailers and manufacturers, ensuring open lines of communication and technical support. In the next phase of the project, D+R will work with DOE to evaluate energy and cost savings as the state programs come to a close.
Maryland Energy Administration
In 2008, D+R recruited retailers and delivered 27 ENERGY STAR® retail trainings to appliance sales staff in Maryland on behalf of the Maryland Energy Administration. D+R prepared training materials, including a web tool for retailers, and created brochures about ENERGY STAR qualified appliances with Maryland-specific water, energy, and financial savings data. Participating retailers included 11 of Nationwide Marketing Group's independent retailers, as well as national retail chains, including Sears, Best Buy, Lowe's, and The Home Depot. D+R also provided new ENERGY STAR content and technical assistance for updating the consumer section of the MEA website.
National Fenestration Rating Council
Organized by D+R in 1989, the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) is an innovative collaboration between government and industry. D+R provided management services to this nonprofit organization from its inception until 2002. D+R staff also developed and implemented window energy performance test procedures that have become industry standards.
NFRC currently rates and certifies the energy performance of more than 100,000 residential and commercial windows, doors, and skylights for more than 200 companies, including all major U.S. manufacturers. The NFRC window and door rating and certification procedures have become the national benchmark for state and local residential window codes, as well as the basis for ENERGY STAR® window criteria. Today, the NFRC icon is recognized as a symbol of reliability for customers, much like the UL label.
During its years with the project, D+R maintained product databases, published a product directory containing more than 100,000 products, approved testing laboratory certification, developed and maintained a website, and developed NFRC simulation certification training workshops. D+R also organized the annual conference and business meetings for NFRC, managing all aspects from site selection and agenda development to registration and on-site technical support.
"It is a very useful networking tool. We made an initial purchase from a supplier we found on Quantity Quotes, and we intend to continue to use the same supplier to fulfill future orders." -- Melinda Robertson, Actus Lend Lease, Nashville, TN
D+R designed, built, launched, and for four years managed the ENERGY STAR® Quantity Quotes website on behalf of DOE. This site allowed large-quantity buyers to request quotes from ENERGY STAR product suppliers. The website featured customized forms that guided purchasers through formulating their requests, helping buyers find exactly the right products. The system also facilitated private online conversations between purchasers and suppliers. During D+R’s management of the site, more than 2,700 colleges and universities, public housing authorities, multifamily housing providers, schools, and government agencies registered. Together, these organizations requested 8.8 million CFLs and 100,000 home appliances from participating suppliers. Numerous purchasers provided feedback that Quantity Quotes was an easy way to secure competitive bids from multiple suppliers at once, saving time and money.
Real Estate Initiative
In 2007, D+R began working with DOE to develop its first Real Estate Initiative. D+R formed a successful working relationship with the National Association of REALTORS (NAR), the nation's largest trade association. Through NAR and other real estate partners, D+R has conducted surveys and focus groups and disseminated information to help industry leaders respond to the "green" real estate market. Read D+R's articles on green real estate at REALTOR Magazine and REALTOR AE.
D+R provides research and strategic support to a coalition of leading window covering manufacturers seeking to add window coverings to the ENERGY STAR labeling program. An initial analysis conducted by the industry and D+R suggests that the national energy-saving potential of window coverings is equal to or greater than that of other ENERGY STAR product categories. D+R has completed a preliminary industry profile and will conduct the first national survey to determine the installed base of windows and window coverings and how people operate them. The survey will be followed by an in-depth energy-savings analysis conducted in collaboration with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.