Market Research and Evaluation Reports
Providing market-critical data
NEEA's market research drives our programming, defines the challenges within our work, and provides critical market data and analyses about regional energy consumption for NEEA and our stakeholders.
Our evaluation reports assess our current initiatives to ensure we achieve our goals in a cost effective manner. Our Long-Term Monitoring and Tracking Reports measure the continued energy savings delivered by NEEA's previously-funded initiatives.
NEEA’s Emerging Technology Reports document the exploratory work we do to assess and develop market intervention concepts for emerging technologies. These reports typically are not based on statistically valid market research. When we find a promising technology, additional, disciplined, and statistically valid market research is completed to benchmark performance and savings, understand market conditions and barriers, and test intervention strategies associated with a market transformation initiative.
The qualitative research report, “Exploring The Consumer Path-To-Purchase for New Construction Homes,” captures the findings of a study that was conducted in Q1 of 2017. The objective of the study was to inform intervention strategies designed to overcome the Next Step Homes initiative’s barrier of consumer awareness.
Qualitative research focused on recent purchasers of new construction homes in the Northwest region. The results in this Power Point report include:
• The new construction homeowner path-to-purchase
• Attitudes, influences and needs within the path-to-purchase
• The experiences and interactions with builders throughout the process
• Perceptions and attitudes regarding energy efficiency as a consideration during the construction process
The qualitative research report, “Exploring the Consumer Value Proposition for Super-Efficient Dryers,” captures the findings of a study conducted in Q4 of 2016. The objective of the study was to inform intervention strategies designed to overcome the Super-Efficient Dryer adoption barrier of low consumer awareness of, and interest in, Super-Efficient Dryers.
Qualitative research focused on recent purchasers of dryers and with consumers who stated an intent to purchase a dryer in the next 6 – 12 months. The results in this Power Point report include:
• Use, attitudes and challenges associated with laundry, and dryers in particular.
• The dryer consumer’s path-to-purchase, hierarchy of needs and unmet needs.
• Perceptions and attitudes about energy efficiency, ENERGY STAR®, dryer brands and the retail experience.
• The consumer value propositions created, a summary of consumer response to those statements, and conclusions regarding which statements hold the most potential.
Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) was an active participant in the U.S. Department of Energy process to establish a standard regulating the consumption of energy in electric motors. To assess the effectiveness of NEEA’s effort in the establishment of this standard, NEEA contracted with Cadmus. The electric motor standard was unique in that energy efficiency stakeholders and the manufacturers established a collaboration forum, the Motor Coalition, and used this forum to create a joint recommendation. NEEA was a member of the coalition, providing technical expertise and serving as a trusted voice in the negotiations. The work of the coalition fundamentally changed the structure of the Department of Energy’s original proposal as well as significantly accelerated the adoption date of the standard. The efforts of the Motor Coalition (NEEA, other energy stakeholders and manufacturers) were significant. Cadmus estimates that 61 percent of the savings from the Electric Motors standard will result from the Motor Coalition activities.
Through its Commercial Real Estate infrastructure program, Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) is working to support Northwest utilities’ efforts to improve energy efficient operation of commercial buildings in their service territories. To accomplish this, NEEA made accessible a set of best practices, tools and resources which utilities, Bonneville Power Administration and Energy Trust of Oregon can tap into in order to affect improved commercial building operations.
In this report, the research team (Navigant and subcontractor Cadeo) conducted a characterization of the market, assessed the NEEA-developed Spark tool – a web-based tool designed to assess the potential value of efficiency project in buildings, and reviewed the effectiveness of retrofit efforts in demonstration projects.
Findings from this research include: awareness of energy efficiency as a source of economic value exists within the commercial marketplace, however practice lags awareness; the Spark tool proved useful in general, but will require some fine-tuning; initial assessment of demonstration sites realized economic benefits from energy efficiency renewal efforts.
The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance commissioned a study designed to characterize the natural gas consumer and to develop customer segmentation profiles to support the development of new high efficiency natural gas initiatives in the Northwest. The majority of natural gas customers (from among the sponsoring utilities and the Energy Trust of Oregon) reside primarily in suburban (52 percent) and urban (31 percent) homes, and are comprised of households with at least two or three individuals (72 percent). Space and water heating are the main uses of natural gas, and 44 percent report owning gas stove tops and 43 percent have fireplaces. Based on a combination of qualitative and quantitative research, four key segments emerge of the natural gas customers. These include the Pragmatist (30 percent); the New Urban Traditionalist (6 percent), the Middle American (9 percent) and the Day-to-Day (55 percent), each with its sets of drivers and barriers to high efficiency product adoption.
In an effort to better understand the market potential of high efficiency gas fired condensing rooftop units, the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance commissioned a market characterization study. The study sought to identify the supply side market structure for these units in commercial retrofit settings.
Key findings indicate that the top three brands dominating the market include Carrier, Lennox and Trane. Installers play a critical role by serving as a conduit between commercial building owners and distribution channels. Furthermore, installers command high brand and distributor loyalty. While installers are familiar with condensing technology, few have much installation experience with high efficiency gas fired condensing rooftop units. Installers are not confident that lower performance energy costs will outweigh performance risk, and thus do not recommend high efficiency gas fired condensing rooftop units in general. This would suggest an opportunity for creating an energy savings and payback calculator. In addition, installers need training on the best installation practices and maintenance of condensing units to further their appeal.
Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) directs an energy codes program, the objective of which is to get sustained market change through the development, adoption, and implementation of increasingly stringent code in residential and commercial construction resulting in energy savings. This Market Progress Evaluation Report (MPER) report presents the findings of a formal evaluation of this program’s progress in achieving its goals and provides recommendations to improve program performance moving forward.
The focus of this MPER was on codes efforts undertaken since 2011 in the northwest region (in the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana). Key research objectives of the MPER were to conduct reviews of: the program logic model; cost effectiveness assumptions used to estimate program influence; program progress achieved; and effectiveness of processes implemented. The evaluation found that NEEA’s codes program has made a significant contribution to the Northwest region through its support of energy code development and adoption, implementation and compliance. The report’s recommends NEEA put additional focus on the timing and targeting of training.
Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) contracted with Seek, Inc. to run three focus groups of commercial lighting purchase decision makers. The research sought to understand more about the decision making process involved in undertaking a major lighting upgrade, to learn about the resources used to decide on a product and to develop segmenting profiles with targeted messages that will resonate with the decision makers. Each group represented a different decision maker or influencer: building owners, property managers, and lighting designers and architects. The final report summarizes the key takeaways, develops profiles and provides messaging recommendations for each group based on the research.
In early 2014, the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) began developing its Luminaire Level Lighting Control (LLLC) Initiative for office buildings and warehouses. LLLC systems have a sensor in each light fixture that senses occupancy, determines optimal light output, and in some system models, reports out energy use and other data. In addition to reducing energy use, LLLCs offer non-energy benefits such as improved worker productivity and health. In 2015, NEEA contracted with Research Into Action and its subcontractor, Energy 350, to uncover market barriers to LLLC adoption, and recommendations to overcome them.
1) Train installers
2) Include LLLCs in commercial energy codes
3) Engage with lighting designers on specifying LLLCs
4) Leverage other NEEA initiatives’ distribution channels
5) Explore the concept of “lighting as service” as a way to deliver LLLCs to the market
The study also found that current commercial market penetration of LLLC systems is 0.5 percent in offices (large, medium and small) and 0.8 percent in warehouses. The study projected that between 2016 and 2035, market penetration will increase to 50 percent in new construction and major renovations, and to 18 percent in retrofit regional stock.
Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) launched its first residential lighting market transformation initiative in 1997 to advance awareness and use of energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) among Northwest residential customers. After more than 10 years of engagement, NEEA concluded that it had removed the market barriers and, therefore, ceased its active interventions in 2008. NEEA has continued tracking the residential lighting market since then.
The 2015-16 long-term monitoring and tracking study prioritized 10 research objectives, which collectively explored attitudes and expectations around lighting among key segments of the market. Research also explored market effects of ENERGY STAR® labeling and federal regulations. Research activities included a shelf stocking survey of 76 geographically dispersed stores from key retail channels; telephone interviews with 800 consumers; consumer focus groups; and interviews with lighting manufacturers, retailers and utility representatives.
The study finds that ENERGY STAR CFL sales continue to decline, while light-emitting diode (LED) sales are likely to increase. The presence of incandescent lamps on retail shelves is decreasing, while LEDs are increasing. Though LED prices are declining, price continues to be a barrier, particularly for rural customers. Utility program managers value NEEA’s research around lighting, but are not generally aware of the annual market tracking report.
The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) contracted with Navigant and Cadeo in June 2015 to complete the first Market Progress Evaluation Report of its Reduced Wattage Lamp Replacement (RWLR) initiative. NEEA sought to understand the initiative’s early progress toward its goal of transforming the nonresidential lighting maintenance market. The overarching goal of the RWLR initiative is to transform standard purchasing practices in the nonresidential lighting maintenance market toward reduced wattage options.
Researchers found that reduced wattage 2016 sales currently account for 17 percent of 4-foot linear fluorescent lamp (LFL) sales among participating distributors – up from 14 percent a year earlier. Increased sales of 28W lamps is driving the growth.
However, due to improvements in light distribution, lower wattages relative to reduced wattage lamps and, declining costs, tubular LEDs have become a competitive alternative to LFLs. The study also found that NEEA is successfully developing a midstream platform and is cultivating a strong, long-term relationship with regional electrical distributors. The researchers present several recommendations including to work with regional partners on a comprehensive strategy for addressing the emergence of tubular LEDs.
From 1998 to 2004, the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) managed an initiative to transform the building commissioning market in the Northwest. The initiative aimed to make commissioning standard practice in public buildings and to create a standardized professional certification body for commissioning providers. To assess the outcomes of the initiative, NEEA began long-term monitoring and tracking of the commissioning market in 2005.
The 2016 study finds that the population of certified commissioning providers and firms offering commissioning services is growing. In 2015, there were 75 firms performing commissioning in the Northwest. These 75 firms carried out more than 26 million square feet of new building commissioning and nearly 37 million square feet of existing building commissioning in the region. Market penetration of new building commissioning across the region was 49 percent. As in previous years, market penetration for all types of commissioning was higher in Oregon and Washington than in Idaho and Montana.
As part of this year’s study, evaluators estimated the baseline market share of commissioned floor space and found that in 2015, 52 percent of new building commissioned space and 62 percent of existing building commissioned space would have occurred without NEEA intervention. The study recommends future research to improve market size estimates, increase survey response rate, and to better track the population of commissioning providers.
The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) contracted with Evergreen Economics to conduct the second market progress evaluation for its Heat Pump Water Heaters (HPWH) initiative. Key research tasks included telephone surveys with the general population of homeowners, as well as those that purchased a heat pump water heater in 2015, and interviews with market actors and utility program managers.
As presented in this second Market Progress Evaluation Report, there has been a significant increase in sales of HPWHs meeting the second performance Tier. NEEA offered upstream incentives to manufacturers on 4,392 Tier 2/Tier 3 HPWHs, combined with utility rebates on nearly 1,000 Tier 2/Tier 3 units.
Consistent with the first market progress evaluation findings, planned purchases still dominate the HPWH market, but satisfaction remains very high at nearly 100 percent of those surveyed. Lower energy bills are a primary reason for consumer satisfaction. The report also conveys interesting findings about the impacts to the market for large tank water heaters as a result of the 2015 National Appliance Energy Conservation Act.
This report presents the results of a characterization study of the super-efficient dryer market in the Northwest, including ENERGY STAR® dryers and dryers with heat pump technology (both pure heat pump and hybrid). The evaluation contractor, Evergreen Economics, carried out a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods, including in-depth interviews with supply chain actors, focus groups with consumers that are in the market for a new dryer, and a web-based consumer survey which included a stated-choice exercise.
The study finds that there is broad interest in energy-efficient dryers amongst consumers. Based on both focus group and survey findings, consumers showed an inclination to pay a marginal cost increase of $100 for an ENERGY STAR dryer for energy savings of 5 to 20 percent, with meaningful minorities of participants in both exercises showing interest in heat pump and hybrid dryers. Selling points included energy savings and the adoption of new technology. Purchase price, cycle length and reliability are potential concerns. Reflecting findings from the stated choice analysis, a key recommendation of the study is that a rebate of at least $200 is necessary to materially increase the likelihood of purchase. Other recommendations include increasing the initiative’s focus on consumer awareness of efficient dryers before purchase and exposure to the technology during the purchasing process. Results also support matched washer and dryer pairs, particularly for ENERGY STAR dryers.
The fifth Market Progress Evaluation Report provides information to support on-going tracking of initiative activities designed to promote Ductless Heat Pump (DHP) availability and build consumer and market awareness for DHPs. Data collected through telephone and online surveys with DHP owners and target market households, focus groups and surveys of DHP installers, and in-depth interviews with NEEA and partner utility program staff, Master Installers and DHP supply chain partners informed this report.
The report finds a continued upward trend in the number of DHPs installed through the initiative and high levels of satisfaction among households with DHPs installed. DHP installers report increasing awareness of and interest in DHPs among their customers but continue to report barriers associated with lack of familiarity.
The report recommends the initiative focus on leveraging word-of-mouth and internet sources to increase familiarity and confidence and continue to expand marketing resources available to utilities, installers and supply chain partners. The report also notes that decreasing utility rebates and increasing interest in DHP for cooling could affect initiative planning in the future.