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 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.
This memo documents the analysis of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Council Building Operator Certification (BOC) program dataset as of 2015. The goal of this effort, conducted each year as part of the BOC evaluation, is to describe the 2015 new BOC certificants and update the count of active BOC certificants in the Northwest region (Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington). Active certificants are those individuals who have received or renewed the BOC credential since 2010 and are the individuals for whom the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance counts energy savings for 2015. The results of the analysis find 228 new 2015 certifications and 115 certificants whose savings retired in 2015. In all, BOC has certified 2,796 individuals, of whom 1,568 are currently active.
This memorandum summarizes research on renewal rates for professional certification programs conducted as part of the Building Operator Certification Expansion (BOC-E) program for the 2015-16 long-term monitoring and tracking study. The primary objective of this research was to determine whether support exists for the current BOC-E certificate target renewal rate of 70 percent, which appears in the logic model associated with the 10th market progress indicator.
The findings of this study indicate that Building Operator Certification renewal rates are slightly lower than for most other certifications targeting professionals in the energy and building trades sector. However, the report recommends a downward adjustment of the 70 percent target renewal rate as a result of a detailed analysis of how the target was selected, finding it to be inflated.
Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) funded the Drive Power Initiative (DPI) between 1999 and 2004. The DPI encouraged motor service centers in the Northwest region (including Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington) to adopt green motor rewind practices to reduce energy use for motors used in the agricultural and industrial sectors.
Since 2004, NEEA has conducted long term monitoring and tracking studies to assess the impact of that initiative. In this 2015 update to the key Alliance Cost Effectiveness model assumptions for motor rewinds, we find that green motor rewinds have not yet become standard practice in the Northwest.
Green Motor Practices Group members reported that green motor rewinds comprised only 33 percent of all horsepower rewound, and 24 percent of member respondents performed no green motor rewinds in 2015. Only one nonmember reported performing green motor rewinds. Furthermore, the estimated number of rewinds performed by Northwest motor service centers decreased each year from 2013 and 2015 from 4,631 in 2013 to 3,059 in 2015, indicating a decline in the motor rewind industry.
Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) participated in the Department of Energy rule making on Fluorescent Lamp Ballast Standard. On Nov. 14, 2011, the U.S. Department of Energy published its final rule to adopt the “Energy Conservation Standards for Fluorescent Lamp Ballasts,” which took effect Jan. 13, 2012, with a compliance date of Nov. 14, 2014.
NEEA engaged TRC Energy Services (TRC) in January 2016 to conduct an assessment of NEEA’s effort and influence on the rule making. The scope of TRC’s evaluation was to investigate the barriers to adoption for this standard, the activities that NEEA conducted, the activities that other energy efficiency stakeholders conducted, and the effectiveness of these activities.
Based on the results, TRC provided two estimates:
1. NEEA’s share of influence for the fluorescent lamp ballast standard – i.e., the percent of NEEA influence compared to that of all efficiency stakeholders.
2. The total share of influence on energy savings from the efforts of all efficiency stakeholders, including NEEA.
Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) conducts a semi-annual survey to assess how its stakeholders perceive NEEA’s value delivery to the region, its communications with stakeholders, and staff interactions. The result of the study conducted in April 2016 shows that overall satisfaction with the alliance has improved. However, survey respondents indicate that the value delivered by the alliance is not always clear, and that NEEA staff require a better understanding of local conditions and programs. NEEA takes stakeholder feedback seriously, and will continue periodic evaluations like this to inform the organization’s goals of continuous improvement.
The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) participated in the Department of Energy rulemaking on the Non-Residential Small Electric Motors Standard. The rule was released in 2010 and compliance with it was required beginning in 2015. NEEA engaged Cadmus in November 2015 to conduct an assessment of NEEA’s effort and influence on the rulemaking.
1. Determined whether NEEA influenced adoption of the standard;
2. Enhanced NEEA’s understanding of the appropriateness and effectiveness of its efforts to influence the standard; and
3. Developed an influence score for Non-Residential Small Electric Motors Standard.
The methodology used to estimate NEEA’s influence in establishing this standard was an initial attempt to devise a cost effective and repeatable approach to quantifying this essentially qualitative process. Subsequent studies will review alternative approaches. Cadmus reports that NEEA was effective as a technically knowledgeable resource, and that it served as an intermediary in facilitating issues discussion and exploring technically and economically viable options with a variety of opposing stakeholders.
The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance is leading a regional effort called Next Step Homes. The program encourages the design and construction of homes that are capable of achieving energy efficiencies significantly greater than required by current code.
Energy 350 conducted a savings validation study for the 12 homes constructed in Phase I of the program. Modeling of energy consumption was completed using a widely-available tool (REM Rate), modified for Northwest conditions. This evaluation found on average these homes were 30 percent more efficient than code built homes.
The evaluation also found that the modeling tool provided reliable results, but that it could benefit from targeted modifications, for example, allowing for modelers to schedule mechanical equipment individually.
The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance contracted Ecotope, Inc. to conduct a small pilot study to develop and test a methodology for commercial energy code evaluation. This objective supports the growing focus on energy code as a key strategy for meeting energy planning and performance goals.
The researchers point out that code is successful to the degree that it is well-developed, adopted in a timely manner, supported in implementation and broadly accepted by market actors (i.e., compliance), and that a competent methodology must address each of these elements.
Typically, current approaches to code assessment have focused only on measuring compliance. The methodology developed from this study embodies a more broad-based, integrated approach, including a cost-effective field review and compliance assessment of completed buildings with additional assessments of the enforcement/implementation environment, and post-occupancy energy performance.
This report analyzes the persistence of implemented activities and electricity savings for NEEA’s Commercial Real Estate (CRE) Strategic Energy Management (SEM) efforts of the Market Partners Program (MPP) cohort. The project included surveys with MPP firm executives, analyzing billing data from participating buildings and from a control group of similar commercial nonparticipating buildings.
In 2014, Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance began implementing the Retail Products Portfolio (RPP) pilot. The RPP initiative targets select consumer electronics and appliance product categories, and offers incentives to large, chain retailers for each unit within those categories sold in the Northwest that meets a pilot-defined energy efficiency threshold. Through these incentives, the pilot hopes to influence retailers’ corporate-level decision-making around product assortment and promotion in ways that favor efficient products. Ultimately, the goal of RPP is to influence manufacturers through the specification setting process to produce more efficient products on a larger scale.
This evaluation focused on activities of the pilot in 2014, with some focus on 2015, including how a national effort from Environmental Protection Agency to expand the scale of the program in 2016 fits into the overall context of this initiative. Key findings of this evaluation include evidence that the mechanisms are in place for RPP to influence retailer decisions in the area of promotion and assortment, and that scale and influence are interrelated and scale is a critical component of the initiative.
The primary goal of the Next Step Homes initiative is to identify best practices and advanced technologies that the region can adopt into building codes over the next three to four code cycles. To encourage builders to incorporate high performance features into their new projects and to accelerate adoption of advanced energy-efficient building practices and technologies, Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance commissioned Curtis Research Associates to investigate the motivations and obstacles to building more energy-efficient homes.
Results from focus group discussions held in Portland, Seattle and Spokane suggest that builders have different motivations to build higher than existing code standards such as differentiating themselves in the marketplace, or strong personal ethics that favor energy efficient building practices.
Common challenges to building above code homes include higher costs, appraisers’ inability to assess higher value to more efficient homes, and lack of buyers’ awareness or appreciation of energy-efficient homes.
The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance commissioned a study to assess the appeal and potential viability of the Certified Refrigeration Energy Specialist initiative, designed to certify refrigeration professionals to optimize the energy efficiency of the refrigeration systems in their respective plants, to capture both energy and cost savings.
This report presents an assessment of the initiative’s potential appeal to key market actors/segments including refrigeration facility managers, operators, technicians, engineers, and service providers. The study found the initiative has the potential to succeed with its goal based on good early awareness of the initiative, interest among operators and technicians in professional development and openness of management to support efforts to improve operational and energy efficiency within their facilities.